ArrayJalalabad, Jan 13 (IANS/AKI) The Islamic State terrorist group on Wednesday claimed credit for a suicide attack on the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan, calling it a “blessed operation”.
“Dozens of apostates were killed in an assault by the soldiers of the Caliphate against Pakistan’s consulate in Jalalabad,” read a message signed by Khorosan Province, the name of IS’s branch in the region.
“The operation lasted almost four hours, during which time the consulate building was destroyed and dozens of diplomatic staff and Pakistani intelligence officials were killed,” it said.
Three suicide bombers carried out the attack, of whom two died while a third escaped, IS claimed.
Afghan officials said all three attackers and at least seven members of the security forces died during the attack, which was followed by a deadly gun battle lasting several hours.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office said all the consulate’s staff were safe, with one official slightly injured by broken glass.
In the attack, a suicide bomber tried to join a queue of people seeking visas to Pakistan and blew himself up after he was stopped from entering the building, Pakistan’s Geo News television reported.
The attack, which comes amid efforts to restart the stalled peace process with the Taliban and ease diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan, resembled an assault on the Indian consulate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif last week.
Nangarhar, the province in which Jalalabad is located, has become the main stronghold of IS in Afghanistan where it has battled the Taliban for leadership of the insurgency.