8 die in blast near Indian consulate in Afghanistan

The deafening explosion took place at around 10 a.m. about 50 meters away from the consulate in the city, 120 km east of the Afghan capital Kabul, provincial police chief Sharifullah Amin told Xinhua.

The bomber tried to assault the consulate building but his explosive went off minutes before arriving at the compound in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

No damages were inflicted on the consulate and no Indian staff was hurt in the blast, sources said.

"Explosion in front of India's Consulate in Jalalabad. MEA in touch with officials. All officials are safe," tweeted Syed Akbaruddin, official spokesperson, India's ministry of external affairs in New Delhi.

Afghan security forces quickly sealed off the blast site.

The blast sent a plume of grey smoke soaring into the sky, and damaged several houses and shops nearby.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the third major attack in the past five years. In Oct 2009, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing at least 17 people. None of the Indian officials were injured in the attack.

In July 2008 a suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into the gates of the Indian embassy, killing 58 people, including senior Indian
diplomat V. Venkateswara Rao and Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta while injuring over 150 people. 

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