Three suicide car bombers attacked the Indian consulate in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad Saturday, leaving at least nine people dead and 23 others injured. Children, who were inside a nearby mosque, are among the dead.
Authorities say guards stopped the car as it approached a checkpoint outside the consulate, and that after two of the men jumped out of the vehicle, gunfire erupted. They say the third attacker stayed inside the car and detonated the bomb. All three assailants were killed in the attack that left the mosque, private homes and shops in the area badly damaged.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the blast.
India strongly condemned the assault. Without assigning blame, it said in a written statement, "This attack has once again highlighted the main threat to Afghanistan's security and stability stems from terrorism."
India's Ministry of External Affairs said all Indian officials in the consulate were safe.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a written statement late Saturday, saying the United States "condemns in strongest terms" the attack which took the lives of innocent civilians, including women and children. The statement said that despite the attack, the U.S. remains committed "to working with our Afghan, Indian and other international partners to build a secure and prosperous Afghanistan free from senseless violence."