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Blast near Pakistan consulate building in Afghanistan: official

JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN - An explosion was reported on Tuesday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad close to foreign consulate buildings including those of Pakistan, India and Iran, a spokesperson for the provincial governor said.

Although specific details are awaited, locals in Jalalabad are expecting casualties and destruction. Attaullah Khugyani said there were no reports of casualties from the blast, which followed an attack on the Indian consulate in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Sunday. The target of the attack was not immediately clear and there was no claim of responsibility.

The incident occurred while Indian security forces were still trying to suppress an attack on an air base in Pathankot, near the border with Pakistan that has killed at least seven military personnel and wounded 20 others.

The attack marks the second terrorist attack against any Indian diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. With an unknown number of gunmen holed up in a house across the street from the consulate, special forces units prepared an operation to clear the attackers, police spokesperson Shir Jan Durani said.

Two loud explosions and gunshots were heard earlier as the gunmen launched an attack from a nearby house, Muneer Ahmad Farhad, a spokesperson for the Balkh province governor said.

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