Gun and bomb attack near Pak consulate in Jalalabad

RSTV Bureau

Jalalabad-mapLess than ten days after an explosion was reported near the Indian consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan, another gun and bomb siege has taken place in the east Afghan city. This time militants struck near the Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad.

On Wednesday, militants engaged in a four-hour long gunbattle with the Afghan security forces after a suicide bomb triggered a blast in the embassy area. 7 Afghan forces personnel died in the gunfire before all the militants were gunned down. The gunmen were holed up in an empty government guesthouse near the consulate from where they exchanged heavy firing.

“Seven of our security forces were killed and seven others wounded as a result of the terrorist attack,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter.

A statement released by the foreign office in Pakistan said that the authorities were in contact with the Pakistan embassy in Kabul and also the Afghan officials.

The attack comes just a day after representatives of US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan met in Islamabad in a bid to revive the stalled peace talks with Taliban. All four nations proposed direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in an attempt to revive the peace negotiations.

The brazen assault terrified students from an adjacent school in the area. The Indian diplomatic mission is also not too far from the site of attack, said reports.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Wednesday’s attack comes after a series of strikes on Indian installations in the region. Indian interests have been targeted twice in past two weeks. Indian Mission in Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif was attacked by militants just a few days before a blast was reported near Indian consulate in Jalalabad.

Experts believe that the spike in violence began after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Pakistan on December 25 as India has been a key supporter of Kabul’s post-Taliban government.

(With inputs from agencies)