The Wednesday morning blast near the Indian mission in Jalalabad, Afghanistan is being referred to by officials as a suicide attack. Worryingly, it took place only 200 metres from the mission building, reports NDTV. This is the third attack on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan in 10 days.
Local Afghan officials told AFP that they are investigating the incident. Times Now reports that four Afghan policemen were killed but all everyone in the Indian consulate are safe.
According to Hindustan Times, the blast actually occurred at the Pakistani mission which is close to the Indian mission. The suicide attacker was trying to join a queue to get a visa to Pakistan, but when he was not allowed to enter the building, he blew himself up. The Pakistani consulate has now been sealed off.
Incidentally, on 5 January, an explosion took place 400 metres away from the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad after explosives were placed in a garbage can. While a police spokesman said investigators were trying to determine the target, Indian officials claimed that the Indian mission was not the target.
"The Indian Consulate was not the target," a source told PTI, adding, “Pakistan Consul General's house in Jalalabad was closer to the blast site than the Indian mission which was 400 metres away."
Indian officials in Afghanistan are concerned after the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif was attacked in a 25-hour gun and bomb siege from 3 to 4 January. Three armed assailants were killed after they mounted an attack on the diplomatic mission from a nearby building.
Meanwhile, Sayed Kamal Sadat, police chief of Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, told Tolo News on Tuesday that the attackers involved in the Mazar-i-Sharif siege were Pakistani military officers.
"We saw with our own eyes and I can say 99 percent that those attackers were from Pakistani military and used special tactics while conducting their operation," Sadat reportedly said.
Sadat said the attackers — officers from across the border — were well-trained military men who fought Afghan security forces in the 25-hour siege.
"The attackers were military personnel. They were educated and well prepared and had intelligence. They fought us and only by Allah's grace were we able to control them and eliminate them," Sadat was quoted as saying by Tolo News.
The police official said efforts were underway to track down, identify and detain those who assisted the attackers to gain access to the building that was opposite the Indian Consulate.
"We are jointly working with the NDS director and have spoken about this — especially as they came here not able to speak in Dari or Pashtu but speaking in Urdu. It means obviously there is someone who guided those attackers and helped the attackers," Sadat said.
With inputs from AFP and PTI