Eight children were killed and 21 other civilians injured in a bomb blast near Indian Consulate in Afghan city of Jalalabad, officials said.

A police official said the explosion occurred in Jalalabad city, the capital of the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, outside a mosque on the road leading to the Indian consulate.

According to eyewitnesses, gunshots of light weapons are also heard in the area.

“The eyewitnesses also said that the explosion had taken place in front of the Indian consulate in Jalalabad city. Security officials have not commented on the incident yet and the area is cordoned off by the security forces,” witnesses said.

Abdol Zia Ahmadzai, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province, has confirmed the incident but given no further details about the blast.

He said that he did not know whether the explosion was caused by explosives or a suicide attack.

Witnesses said that the explosion occurred near the house of Senate Speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar and the Indian consulate. It is reported that a mass suicide attack was carried out on the Indian consulate.

Taliban denied any involvement and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indian officials were quoted as saying that all staff members of the consulate were safe.

The explosive-laden vehicle was detonated by a mosque leading to the Indian consulate, Nangarhar police chief Gen Amin said.

Jalalabad police were on alert about such an attack on the Indian consulate, Amin said.

Most victims of today’s attack in Jalalabad are children, who were attending religious classes in the mosque, police chief said.