Blast near Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad; at least six dead, two injured | Pakistan Today

Blast near Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad; at least six dead, two injured

Afghan security forces exchanged fire with gunmen barricaded in a house near the Pakistan consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday after a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing as many as six people and wounding two, officials said.

Witnesses said heavy gunfire and a series of explosions could be heard and residents and children from a nearby school had been evacuated.

Earlier, Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said a suicide bomber had tried to join a queue of people seeking visas to Pakistan and blew himself up after being prevented from entering the building.

A security source told Afghanistan’s Tolo News that five policemen were killed and 11 people including three school children and a consulate staff member have been injured in the attack.

The policemen killed were guarding the consulate at the time.

Officials said clashes are still continuing at the consulate between the security forces and the attackers.

Local Afghan officials said they were investigating the incident outside the consulate, which is near the Indian and Iranian diplomatic mission. A hospital and schools are also situated in the area which is usually busy during morning rush hour as people queue for visas.

Police say, area around Pakistan consulate in Nangarhar province has been sealed off after the suicide attack.

The nature of the blast could not be independently confirmed.

There was no claim of responsibility for the blast in Jalalabad, which is the main trade gateway to the Khyber Pass and Pakistan. Nangarhar province is home to a number of insurgent groups and criminal gangs.

Insurgent attacks are not uncommon in Jalalabad. The Islamic State group also has a presence in province.

Pakistan says many Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants, who are separate from but allied with the Afghan Taliban, and are fighting against the Pakistani state, have sought refuge in Afghanistan from Pakistani Army offensives against them in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions.

There have been several bomb blasts in Afghanistan over recent weeks at a time when efforts are underway to restart a peace process with the Taliban and ease diplomatic tension between Pakistan and India.

Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States met this week to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan, even as fighting with the Taliban intensifies.

The blast comes ten days after 25-hour gun and bomb siege took place near the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif .

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