Kabul: A suicide blast outside the Indian consulate in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has reportedly left at least 10 people dead and another 20 injured (See pics).
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, all Indian officials working at the consulate are safe. Most of those who died are civilians who were visiting an adjacent mosque. Among those dead are women and children. (India says won't be deterred by attack on Indian consulate)
The blast took place around 10.00 am near the consulate entrance and caused some damage to the building. Gunfire resounded through the area for at least an hour following the explosion.
"A car containing explosives hit a barrier near the consulate and detonated," Ahmadzia Abdulzai, Nangarhar province spokesman, told news agency AFP.
Afghan security forces have cordoned off the area. Roads near the consulate have been blocked.
According to sources, a security assessment team from Delhi had visited the consulate three days ago in the wake of intelligence inputs about the attack.
The explosion followed a world-wide travel alert issued by the US on Friday, saying terror group Al Qaeda could be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. The United States has ordered the closure of 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday, including its Kabul mission.
Indian diplomatic missions have been targets of previous attacks in Afghanistan.
The eastern border province of Nangarhar, and its capital Jalalabad, have long been a hotbed of insurgent activity.