7 wounded in attack on Indian consulate in Balkh
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Seven people have been wounded in an ongoing attack on the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, officials said on Monday.
Deputy police chief Col. Abdul Razzaq Qadiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the assault began with explosions and gunfire at 8.30pm in the fourth police district, where the diplomatic mission is located.
He said at the site the attackers were running out of ammunitions and gunshots were gradually decreasing. The security personnel were moving cautiously to avoid civilian casualties, he added.
Munir Farhad, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said at least six insurgents attacked the Indian consulate from a nearby house. The attackers had been surrounded.
Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who visited the scene late at night, took command of the counter-attack. He wrote on his Facebook page they were carefully dealing with the situation.
Meanwhile, Mazar-i-Sharif Civil Hospital Director Dr. Khwaja Noor Mohammad Faiz confirmed receiving seven injured individuals from the site. The injured include five policemen and two civilians.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of Interior vehemently denounced the assault as an act of cowardice, saying consulate staff had suffered no casualties so far.
At least two loud blasts and gunshots were reported at night. All staff members of the consulate were safe, Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha tweeted.
India’s consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat was hit in 2014, by heavily armed insurgents, including suicide bombers. The latest attack happened amid renewed efforts to restart peace talks with the Taliban.
Baryalai, a resident of the area, told Pajhwok the gunmen holed up in the building were firing at the consulate. He said the firing stopped for an hour but resumed later on.
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