— By Domani Spero
On September 15, the US Embassy in Kabul released a statement by Jillian Burns, the Consul General of Consulate Herat. The statement noted the death of one Afghan policeman and eight guards from the Afghan Local Guard Force during the September 13 attack on the consulate but did not give any indication on how many were wounded. It also announced Gene Young , her successor as Consul and Senior Civilian Representative in Herat. Mr. Young until recently was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Ljubljana, in Slovenia.
Related post: Suicide Bombers Target US Consulate Herat: Locals Reportedly Killed/Wounded, No American Casualties. Also read The Skeptical Bureaucrat’s post U.S. Consulate Herat: Attack Defeated But Local Guards Killed
Statement by Jillian Burns, Consul General, U.S. Consulate Herat, Afghanistan | September 15, 2013
First, I want to express my personal condolences and those of the entire Consulate to the families of the eight Afghan Consulate guard staff and the one Afghan police officer who lost their lives defending our diplomatic facility against this senseless attack.
On September 11, I saw our local guards outside cheering joyfully with passersby on the occasion of Afghanistan’s win in the South Asia football championship, and I remarked to myself what a wonderful sign it was of normalcy returning to Afghanistan. Two days later, those guards prevented insurgents from entering the Consulate. These heroes, who work day and night to protect me and my American, Afghan, and third country national colleagues, train vigorously for the event we all hope will never happen. We are forever grateful for the sacrifice these men made on our behalf.
We wish a speedy recovery to all those injured in the attack: guards; police; and civilians. Many others suffered from broken property, downed power lines, and damage to one of Herat’s most important trade routes.
As terrible as the attack was, it could have been far worse. Our security measures were effective. The attackers were quickly defeated; our internal perimeter was not breached. The rapid reaction of our guard force, Afghan National Security Forces, and ISAF military units was critical in preventing further loss of life both inside and outside our Consulate walls. We will never forget the sight of hundreds of security officials coming to our aid. We have been heartened by the many calls and statements of support condemning this senseless act of violence, particularly from Herat Governor Syed Fazlullah Wahidi. President Karzai and the United Nations Security Council also denounced the attack.
Even in these circumstances, the Consulate never closed, and we are now focused on the future. I will remain in Herat with members of my team these last few days of my assignment here, and then welcome Gene Young as the new Consul and Senior Civilian Representative. We are assessing the damage to our facility and making future plans. Our mission has not changed –to strengthen ties between Afghanistan and the United States and to work with Afghans and the international community for Afghanistan’s political, social and economic development. Anyone willing to commit murder to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a stable, prosperous nation should be condemned. We will work with Afghan authorities to bring those responsible to justice and to save the lives of other innocents. In the meantime, we pay tribute to the many heroes of Afghanistan who have given their lives to protect the lives of others.
The original statement is available here.
On September 13, delmarvanow.com carried an interview with Ms. Burns husband, David Burns, a professor in the Salisbury University department of communications.
- Afghanistan: Taliban attack US consulate in Herat with suicide bomb, gunfire (theguardian.com)
- Bombers attack U.S. Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan (sacbee.com)
- Afghan Militants Attack US Consulate in Herat (voanews.com)
- Taliban attack on US Consulate kills 2 Afghans (news.yahoo.com)