Karachi consulate attacks
The consulate is a tempting target for Islamic fundamentalists, because it occupies a slightly vulnerable position in downtown Karachi, next to the Marriott Hotel and accessible from two sides by roads. As Pakistan has a large devout Muslim population, there are also many supporters of these Islamic organisations, which include many members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda ousted from Afghanistan in 2002. Because Karachi is on the Southern coast of Pakistan, security is believed to be less strict than it is in Northern cities like Islamabad, and so targets there are considered more vulnerable than elsewhere by terrorists.
June 2002 attack
On the morning of June 14, 2002, a truck with a fertilizer bomb driven by a suicide bomber was detonated outside the United States Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve people were killed and 51 injured, all Pakistanis.
A group called al-Qanoon claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the incident is believed to have been connected with al-Qaeda and the US War on Terror although no conclusive links were proven. Several people were arrested in the aftermath of the attack, and were reported to be members of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a large insurgent organisation. In November 2004, the alleged mastermind of the attack, Naveed-ul Hassan, was arrested in Pakistan. .
February 2003 shooting
On February 28, 2003, gunmen killed two police officers and wounded five other officers and a civilian in front of the consulate. The attack was conducted from motorcycles, and was deliberately aimed at the paramilitary rangers who have taken over guard duties at the consulate from the Pakistani police.
March 2004 bomb plot
On March 15, 2004, there was another attempt to blow up a van in front of the consulate. A grey van was stolen the day before after the driver was shot in the leg. The same van with different plates was later found parked in front of the US Consulate at 7:15 am. When the driver of the parked van was questioned by the police, he claimed that the van had broken down. Soon after, the man was picked up by another car. The police investigated the van and discovered a large blue tank filled with nearly 200 gallons of liquid explosives hooked up to a timer and two detonators. The device was deactivated.
March 2006 bombing
On March 2, 2006, a suicide car bomb killed four people and injured thirty outside the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, which is about 20 yards from the consulate. Among the dead was David Foy, an American diplomat and three Pakistanis. It appears that Foy was the direct target of the bomber, who detonated his vehicle in the car park behind the consulate as Foy arrived. The bomb was reported to be the most powerful attack of its kind in Karachi, and it left a two metre crater in the car park and destroyed at least ten nearby cars.
- Official Website of the US Consulate in Karachi
- BBC News 2002 bomb aftermath
- BBC report on 2002 arrests
- CNN on the 2003 shooting
- BBC report on the 2006 attack