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Bomber Targets Indian Consulate, Kills Afghan Children In Nearby Mosque

  • RFE/RL

An Afghan policeman carries a traumatized child at the site of a suicide car-bombing in front of the Indian consulate in Jalalabad on August 3.

An Afghan policeman carries a traumatized child at the site of a suicide car-bombing in front of the Indian consulate in Jalalabad on August 3.

A suspected suicide car bomb has killed at least nine civilians in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

Police say the bombing, early on August 3, targeted the Indian Consulate in Nangarhar's capital, Jalalabad.

"[T]he suicide bomber attacked the mosque here and all those children who were reciting the holy Koran inside the mosque were martyred -- eight children were martyred and 21 others wounded," Nangarhar police chief Mohammad Sharif Amin said in the aftermath of the bombing.

He was speaking before the death toll rose to nine.

Ahmadzia Abdulzai, a spokesman for government of eastern Nangarhar Province, said a car containing explosives hit a barrier near the Indian consulate and detonated.

"Five attackers arrived here and they asked me, 'Where is the gate to the consulate?'" Javed Khan, an eyewitness, said. "Then one of them asked, 'Is there a mosque nearby?' I said yes, and then they told me that they need to go for prayer. Then I heard a bang and gunfire shortly."

The Indian External Affairs Ministry said all diplomats in the consulate were safe.

The Taliban insurgents have denied any role in the attack.

Nangarhar is situated on a key route between the Pakistani border region and Afghan capital, Kabul.

Afghan officials have routinely claimed attacks in the region are carried out by insurgents hiding in Pakistan.

The region has seen heavy fighting in recent days. More than 20 Afghan police and 60 Taliban fighters were killed in a battle on August 2 when hundreds of Taliban ambushed a military convoy.

Afghan security officials are increasingly taking responsibility for fighting the Taliban ahead of NATO’s planned withdrawal of combat forces by the end of 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, and Dawn.com
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