Blast near Indian Consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan

RSTV Bureau

jalalabadJust a day after the attack at the Indian Mission at Mazar-i-Sharif ended, an explosion took place near the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

According to reports, a low-intensity bomb exploded just 200 metres away from the Indian Consulate. But sources said that the Indian Consulate was not the real target of the attack. Reports quoted the spokesperson for External Affairs Ministry in India, Vikas Swarup, telling AFP that the Jalalabad consulate “was not the target”. Sources revealed that the area also houses the consulates for Pakistan and Iran.

“The explosives were placed in a garbage can,” said Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for Nangarhar province’s Governor. Khogyani also said that they were unsure of what the real target of the attack was.

The blast comes just a day after the operation in Mazar-i-Sharif was called off after 4 terrorists were gunned down after a 25-hour long gunbattle.

A group of terrorists had attacked the Indian Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif on Sunday night with the aim to storm into the building but their plan was thwarted by the security forces. The militants then took refuge in a building near the Indian Mission from where they fired at the security forces intermittently. According to reports, one policeman was killed and 11 others were injured in the gunbattle that followed.

“The clearance operation is over and all the terrorists have all been killed,” said provincial police chief Sayed Kamal Sadat on Monday night after the attack was called off.

ITBP guards deployed on the sentry post foiled their attempt by raining heavy fire on them. Reports said that at least seven Rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) rounds were fired in the direction of the Consulate but missed it.

The terror attack was condemned by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and also UN Chief Ban Ki-moon.

“On the attack on Mazar-e-Sharif, obviously, it is an attack we condemn. Especially in light of what we’ve said, an attack on a diplomatic outpost — that needs to be protected,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told PTI.

President Ghani also telephoned PM Modi who told him that India will always stand with the people of Afghanistan notwithstanding the terror attack on the Consulate.

A strong contingent of over four-dozen ITBP commandos has been securing 4 missions and an embassy in Afghanistan since 2008.

The security of these sensitive facilities were recently increased after the ITBP deployed over 35 commandos at Indian missions in Kabul, Jalalabad, Herat, Kandhar and Mazar-i-Sharif.

The sudden spike in terror attacks in Afghanistan comes just a week after PM Narendra Modi visited Kabul to inaugurate the new Afghan Parliament building built by India.

(With inputs from agencies)