Indian consulate in Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif under attack: officials

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(London Post)  Explosions and gunfire have rung out at the Indian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif as an unknown number of gunmen reportedly attempted to enter the compound.

Twin explosions and shots could be heard just moments prior to an attempt by militant gunmen to storm the site of the Indian diplomatic mission, a spokesperson for the local governor said.

A consulate official told the AFP news agency by telephone from inside the compound: “We are being attacked. Fighting is going on.”

The official, who was in a secure area within the complex, said all consulate staff were safe and accounted for.

There were no immediate details of casualties or damage, Vikas Swarup, a spokesman for India’s ministry of external affairs, told the AFP news agency.

Security officials had cordoned off the area, according to a local police spokesperson.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kabul and engaged in a diplomatic outreach to New Delhi’s rival Pakistan.

Sunday’s attack comes as Indian security forces are trying to contain an attack on an airbase near the border with Pakistan, which has seen more than seven military personnel killed and 20 others wounded.

Mazar-i-Sharif is located some 430 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

jlw/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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