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Explosion rocks German consulate in Afghanistan

An explosion has shaken the German consulate in Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman has said, with reports of a gun battle ensuing.

The blast happened in front of the building in the northern city of Mazari-i-Sharif - with the Taliban issuing a statement claiming they had sent suicide bombers to the consulate to carry out the attack.

Residents reported hearing a "huge explosion" which shattered windows in the surrounding buildings.

Walter Hassmann, the German ambassador to Afghanistan, said the "incident is ongoing" but would not confirm any further details.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

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US strike in Afghanistan killed senior al Qaeda leader

A strike in Afghanistan carried out by the US killed one of the senior leaders of Al Qaeda, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Faruq al-Qatani served as the group's leader for northeastern Afghanistan, and had been assigned to re-establish safe havens in the country.

He was killed in a strike on October 23 in Kunar, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

He said the Pentagon was still assessing the outcome of another strike on the same day that targeted another leader in Afghanistan, Bilal al-Utabi.

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At least 14 people killed in attack on shrine in Kabul

Afghan policemen stand guard near the site of the attack in Kabul. Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail

At least 14 people have been killed and another 26 injured after an attack at a Shia Muslim shrine in the west of Kabul on Tuesday night.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi confirmed that the attack was carried out by one person using an automatic rifle and grenade.

The Kart-e-Sakhi shrine is an important religious site for Shia Muslims. Many were praying when the attack occurred as Wednesday marks the holy day of Ashura.

Jamshed, a Kabul resident who witnessed the attack, said the assailant was wearing a police uniform.

He said: "I was selling bread at the gate of the shrine, and then someone came over and placed a package five meters away from me. He was wearing a police uniform, carrying an AK-47.

"He fired a few rounds first, but did not hit anyone. Then he shot a soldier. The soldier fell to the ground dead. He then fired at me, I just dropped my things and fled."

Thirteen civilians and one police officer have been confirmed dead.

Military police arrived at the scene quickly and shot dead the attacker.

US service personnel injured by IED in Afghanistan

Two US service officers have been injured by a roadside bomb, a defence official has said.

The pair were on routine patrol near Jalalabad Airfield Credit: Reuters

The pair were on a "normal security patrol" near Jalalabad Airfield in Nangarhar province when their vehicle hit the improvised explosive device (IED).

They were taken to Jalalabad Airfield for treatment. Their condition is not known.

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