The attack, involving at least one suspected suicide bomber, took place around noon, causing panic in the area. Civilians fled from the site while security forces engaged gunmen, police officers said.

Journalists at the site reported explosions and gunfire. Security forces moved in armoured vehicles.AFP quoted an Indian diplomat as saying: "Our consulate has been targeted but everyone is safe.

"A shopkeeper near the consulate told the news agency that he saw several injured people lying around the area after a "big boom" shattered his windows.

Click here: Blasts, gunfire near Indian consulate in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

The area is also home to other diplomatic missions."We cannot provide details on casualties. There is fear of possible casualties, both civilian and security personnel," Xinhua quoted a police official as saying.

The nature of the blast might have been group attack or complex assault, involving several attackers, according to a media report.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.In January, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly gun and bomb siege targeting the nearby Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, the first major attack by the group in an Afghan city.

The attack comes ahead of direct peace talks this week between the Afghan government and the Taliban.



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