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Indian consulate in Afghanistan attacked by heavily armed gunmen

Kabul/New Delhi: Indian Consulate in Afghanistan's Herat province was today attacked by heavily armed gunmen, who were also carrying rocket-propelled grenades, top Indian officials said, adding that everyone was safe.

"India's Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan attacked. Brave ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) personnel and Afghan soldiers rebut attackers. All are safe," said a spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. The spokesperson said that operation is underway.

"India-Afghanistan officials (were) in touch on attack on India's Consulate in Herat. Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh (was) monitoring (the) situation," the official said. Afghan police officials said that three gunmen armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades opened fire on the consulate early this morning from a nearby home.

Police killed two of them, though one continued to fire on security forces. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. India has invested in some major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan like Salma hydroelectric dam in Herat province and the Afghan parliament building in Kabul.

India's development assistance programme for Afghanistan currently stands at USD two billion, making it the leading donor nation among all regional countries. Afghanistan has experienced a rise in the Taliban attacks as foreign troops plan to withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of the year.

In August last year, a failed bombing against the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad city near the border with Pakistan killed nine people, including six children. No Indian officials were hurt. The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead.

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