While our security forces are still battling the terrorists 55 hours after they stormed the Indian Air Force in Pathankot, another attack is going on near the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif.
#AFG Residents in Mazar-E Sharif, small arms fire have started since 7:00 AM this morning. On- going fighting b/w ANSF& attackers.
— Bilal Sarwary (@bsarwary) January 4, 2016
At around 9:15 PM IST Sunday night, at least four terrorists attacked the consulate in the capital of northern Balkh province of Afghanistan.
Afghan security forces are fighting the heavily armed terrorists, who occupied a residential house opposite the consulate after failing to break into the consulate.
Consul general Brajabashi Sarkar told the media that two terrorists have been were killed and security forces, including jawans of ITBP, are engaged in a fierce gunbattle with two others.
“The number of attackers were 4, two of them killed but not confirmed by police yet,” Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News said.
Amar Sinha, the Indian ambassador to Afghanistan, confirmed that all consulate staff were safe and a clearing operation was under way.
The attack left one civilian and five security force personnel injured.
Mazar-i-Sharif Op still on in building where terrorists are there. Consulate staff & ITBP commandos are safe: pic.twitter.com/u5IVhT3Qj8
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 4, 2016
According to security forces, the terrorists were armed with RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), hand grenades, assault rifles and machine guns.
Attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif worrying. One of the most stable and successful cities of Afghanistan. https://t.co/Qlqy6QJWsz
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) January 4, 2016
Authorities said that the Indian consul building was not harmed even though 4—5 rocket rounds and numerous bullets have been fired towards it.
Armed guards of a local Uzbek politician joined the security forces in the fight against terrorists.
“The area is sealed off and we are proceeding cautiously and making all possible efforts to protect the lives of those in the area. The attackers will be killed,” said Atta Mohammad Noor, the provincial governor of Mazar-e-Sharif. No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility.
WATCH: Afghan special forces engage terrorists near Indian consulate in Mazar i Sharif(Afghanistan). https://t.co/4rQ2rk8eNx
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 4, 2016
The attack on Mazar-e-Sharif coincides with the attack on the Air Force base in Pathankot. Both attacks come immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Afghanistan last month followed by his surprising stopover in Lahore to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.
Indian diplomatic missions in Afghanistan have been under constant militant attacks especially since the bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul in 2008. It was attacked again the next year.
In May 2014, gunmen attacked the Indian consulate in Herat. In August 2013, nine civilians died when the consulate in Jalalabad was targeted.
In fact, immediately before Modi’s Afghan visit, the security forces of the country had foiled a Taliban plan to bomb the Indian consulate in Jalalabad.
While the two terror attacks are on, political commentator Tufail Ahmad reminds us of his accurate analysis following Modi’s courtesy call to Nawaz.
— Tufail Ahmad (@tufailelif) January 3, 2016