Insurgents launch deadly attack on Indian consulate in Afghanistan

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A suicide bomber has attacked the Indian consulate in the eastern-Afghan capital of Jalabad on Saturday.

According to Indian officials and local police, six people have been killed and 22 wounded.

Nangahar police chief, Mohammad Sahrif Amin, told Reuters that a bomber detonated a car packed with explosives outside the consulate, close to a nearby mosque. Alledgedly, the consulate was the intended target but the majority of casualties were from the mosque.

"Explosion in front of India's Consulate in Jalalabad. All Indian officials safe," Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Twitter.

The attack follows a world-wide travel alert issued by the United States on Friday, warning that al-Qaeda could be planning attacks in the coming weeks, highlighting the Middle East and North Africa as key targets.

The United States has ordered the closure of 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday, including its Kabul mission.

According to Deputy Provincial police chief Masoon Khan Hasimi, roads near the Indian consulate remained blocked as gun fire echoed around the area.

Indian diplomatic missions have been the targets of previous attacks in Afghanistan.

Jalalabad has long been a hotbed of insurgent activity with a five-hour battle between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters occurring Friday, a day before the attack.

(With Reuters)