World Bulletin/News Desk
Suicide bombers attacked the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's eastern capital Jalalabad on Saturday, killing nine people, including children, mostly in an adjacent mosque, officials said.
Twenty-three people were injured.
Guards at a checkpoint stopped the three attackers as their car approached the building around 10 a.m., the office of Gul Agha Sherzai, governor of Nangarhar province, said in a statement.
Two attackers leapt out of the car and a gunfight broke out, while the third remained inside and detonated his explosives. The blast badly damaged the mosque and dozens of homes and small shops in the area.
All three assailants were killed in the explosion.
The Taliban denied it was responsible.
"Explosion in front of India's Consulate in Jalalabad. All Indians officials safe," Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Twitter.
The bombing followed a world-wide travel alert issued by the United States on Friday, saying that Al Qaeda could be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
The United States has ordered the closure of 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday, including its Kabul mission.
All the casualties were civilians, the governor said, though one health official said a soldier was among the injured.
Most of those killed or injured were inside the adjacent mosque, according to Nangarhar police chief Mohammad Sharif Amin.
The area was cordoned off by the police while no one claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
Gunfire resounded through the area for at least an hour following the 10 a.m. blast near the consulate entrance.
Roads near the Indian consulate remained blocked as gunfire rattled through the area, deputy provincial police chief Masoom Khan Hashimi said.
Indian diplomatic missions have been targets of previous attacks in Afghanistan.
The eastern border province of Nangarhar, and its capital Jalalabad, have long been exposed to clashes.
On Friday, a five-hour battle between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the province's Shirzad district killed dozens of Afghan police and fighter, officials said.Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2013, 14:32