JALALABAD (Afghanistan) • Afghan security forces killed four suicide bombers who targeted the Indian consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad, following an attack in which at least two people were killed and 19 wounded, officials said.
A bomb in a car driven by one of the attackers was detonated near the Indian consulate yesterday, shattering doors and windows and destroying at least eight cars as explosions and gunfire rocked the area, witnesses said. Security forces in armoured vehicles rushed to the scene while civilians fled.
The four attackers were killed before they could enter the consulate compound, said Mr Attahullah Khugyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.
"Their target was the Indian consulate, but our forces shot and killed them all before they reached their target," he said.
Two people - a police officer and a civilian woman - were killed and 19 wounded, he said.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the brazen attack, which coincided with a Nato change-of-command ceremony that saw US army general John Nicholson take charge of international troops in Afghanistan. Indian diplomats were not hurt, the Foreign Ministry in New Delhi said.
The violence, coming just days after dozens of people were killed or wounded in suicide attacks in the capital Kabul and the eastern province of Kunar, raises further questions over efforts to revive a stalled peace process with the Taleban.
In January, India's consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif was also attacked by insurgents.
India has been a key supporter of Kabul's post-Taleban government, and analysts have often pointed to the threat of a "proxy war" in Afghanistan between India and Pakistan. Pakistan - the historic backer of the Taleban - has long been accused of assisting the insurgents, especially with attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE