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Indian Consulate in Afghan City Attacked


Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Unidentified militants attempted to storm the Indian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif Sunday as gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades rocked the surrounding area, a spokesman for the local governor told VOA.

Munir Ahmad Farhad said the gunmen fired the rockets from a building across the street from the consulate, prompting a gunfight between security forces and the assailants. No details about casualties or damage were immediately available.

Special forces units were preparing an operation to clear the attackers, police spokesman Shir Jan Durani said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came just a day after a deadly assault by suspected Islamist militants on an Indian air base near the Pakistan border that has killed at least seven troops and four gunmen, with 12 others wounded.

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 assault comes after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited both Kabul and Islamabad last month, the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian premier in over a decade.

Ayaz Gul contributed to this report from Islamabad.