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Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif attacked by gunmen

Updated January 03, 2016
“We are being attacked. Fighting is going on,” an Indian consulate official said. AFP/File
“We are being attacked. Fighting is going on,” an Indian consulate official said. AFP/File

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: The Indian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif came under attack on Sunday with an unknown number of gunmen attempting to enter the compound after twin explosions and shots were heard, the spokesman for the local governor said.

“We are being attacked. Fighting is going on,” an Indian consulate official said via telephone from inside the compound.

No details were immediately available on casualties or damage.

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

A local police spokesman said security officials had cordoned off the area where sporadic gunshots were ringing out after a series of explosions.

Vikas Swarup, a spokesman for India's ministry of external affairs, said that no Indian casualties had been reported so far.

It came amid renewed efforts to reduce longstanding tensions between India and Pakistan and restart peace talks with the Afghan Taliban as part of a broader drive to improve stability in the region.

The consulate assault is the latest in a series of attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan.

Nine civilians, including seven children, were killed in August 2013 when suicide bombers targeted the Indian consulate in the main eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, detonating an explosives-packed car.

The attack came as Indian security forces are still trying to suppress an assault on an air base near the border with Pakistan that has killed at least seven military personnel and wounded 20 others.

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.