Afghanistan: 8 die in attack on Indian consulate in Jalalabad

Kabul: Eight people including a policeman and two civilians were killed when militants targeted the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city on Wednesday. Nineteen other civilians were injured in the mayhem and admitted to a hospital, Afghan news reports said. Officials said all diplomats and staff at the Indian consulate were safe. The dramatic attack began around noon when a suicide bomber came up to the front gate of the consulate and suddenly detonated his explosives-laden vest, stunning the guards and civilians there. The aim was to pave the way for the other militants to storm the building, police officer Fazel Ahmad Shirzad told TOLO News. Panic gripped the area, also home to the Pakistani and Iranian missions. Civilians fled from the spot. Journalists reported explosions and gunfire. A shopkeeper near the consulate told journalists that he saw several injured people lying on the ground after a massive blast shattered his windows. No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack. The attack comes ahead of direct peace talks this week between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The Afghan government has been battling the Taliban for over a decade. The Taliban have launched several high-profile attacks in recent months. In September, the Taliban briefly overran the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, in one of their biggest victories since they were ousted from power in 2001.

IANS