“The suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into the wall of the German consulate in the city,”

-said local police chief Sayed Kamal Sadat.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for Nato air strikes against a village near the northern city of Kunduz last week in which more than 30 people were killed.

The Islamist movement’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said by telephone that heavily armed fighters, including suicide bombers, had been sent “on a mission to destroy the German consulate general and kill whoever they found there”.

Mazar-e-Sharif is one of the most peaceful cities in Afghanistan. It is also one of northern Afghanistan’s most populated and developed cities. While the Taliban are active around Mazar-e-Sharif, the city is not a Taliban stronghold.

Afghan men clean up broken glass from a building after an explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan November 11, 2016. REUTERS/ Anil Usyan

An Afghan security force personnel keeps watch at the entrance gate of the German consulate after an explosion in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Anil Usyan

An Afghan municipality worker walks on the road with another man in front of the German consulate after a blast in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Anil Usyan

Afghan security forces investigate at the site of explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Anil Usyan

Afghan security forces investigate at the site of explosion near the German consulate office in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Anil Usyan

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