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Indian consulate in Afghan city Mazar-i-Sharif under attack: officials

Explosions and gunfire have rung out at the Indian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. An unknown number of gunmen have reportedly attempted to enter the compound.

Two explosions and shots could be heard just moments prior to an attempt by militant gunmen to storm the site of the Indian diplomatic mission, said a spokesperson for the local governor.

A consulate official told the AFP news agency by telephone from inside the compound: "We are being attacked. Fighting is going on."

The official, who was in a secure area within the complex, said all consulate staff were safe and accounted for. No Indian casualties have been reported so far, India's foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup told the AFP news agency.

Security officials had cordoned off the area, according to a local police spokesperson.

"The attackers are holed up inside the building. We are cautiously conducting our clearance operation to avoid any civilian casualties," said police spokesman Shir Jan Durrani.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred just days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kabul and engaged in a

diplomatic outreach effort

with archrival to New Delhi's rival Pakistan.

Sunday's attack comes as Indian security forces are trying to contain an

attack on an airbase near the border with Pakistan,

which has seen more than seven military personnel killed and 20 others wounded.

Mazar-i-Sharif is located some 430 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

jlw/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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