Six suicide attackers targeted the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring 19 more before they were gunned down by security forces.
The consulate was damaged but all the Indians escaped unharmed. One Afghan employee was injured. The dead included a policeman and two civilians.
“The Indian Consulate in Jalalabad has been attacked. All Indians in the mission are safe but one ANP officer was killed during the gunfire,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in New Delhi.
“One suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the mission while another blew himself up along with the car which carried the attackers. Four terrorists were killed by the Afghan security men.”
Anil Kumar, an official at the Indian embassy in Kabul, said no one breached the consulate building.
The attackers were killed before they could enter the consulate compound, Afghan officials said. “Their target was the Indian consulate, but our forces shot and killed them all before they reached their target,” said Attahullah Khugyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.
The powerful explosions blew out windows in nearby buildings and destroyed eight cars. The attackers hid in a house and exchanged fire with security forces before they were killed. ITBP personnel guarding the consulate also engaged the attackers.
Besides the Indian consulate, several foreign missions are located in the same area.
No group claimed the brazen attack, which coincided with a NATO change-of-command ceremony that saw US Army Gen John Nicholson take charge of international troops in Afghanistan.
The attack highlights the worsening security situation in Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up nationwide attacks and Islamic State jihadists make inroads in the volatile east.
Wednesday’s attack was reminiscent of a 25-hour siege near the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in January. The attack coincided with a terrorist assault on the Pathankot airbase in India.
In December, Afghan security forces said they had foiled two attempts to attack the Indian mission in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangrahar province. They also said they had arrested two members of the Islamic State in connection with one of the planned attacks. agencies