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Explosions and gunfire rock Afghan city of Jalalabad

The Indian consulate in the Afghan city has reportedly been targeted by militants. The area, which is also home to other diplomatic missions, has frequently come under attack by Islamic extremists.

Afghan security forces arrived at an area near the Indian consulate on Wednesday after explosions and gunfire were reported.

According to witnesses at the scene, windows were shattered and cars were destroyed as civilians fled the violence in the eastern city. There was no immediate word of casualties, but one person said he saw several injured lying on the ground.

"Our consulate has been targeted but everyone is safe," an Indian foreign spokesman told AFP news agency.

Rise of 'IS'

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, although the area of Afghanistan in which Jalalabad lies is known to be the site of a growing insurgency by the so-called "Islamic State" ("IS").

In January, insurgents also attacked the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, a nearby city in Afghanistan. That same month, IS claimed responsibility for an attack on Pakistan's consulate in Afghanistan.

Wednesday's attack comes as the Afghan government prepares to start peace talks with the Taliban next week.

blc/kms (AFP, Reuters)

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