A suicide bomber attacked the Indian consulate in the eastern Afghan capital of Jalalabad, killing several civilians and wounding many.

The explosion on Saturday was followed with gunfire. At least nine people died - among them children and old people, and at least 22 people were reportedly wounded.

A source at the Indian Foreign Ministry told Al Jazeera that all Indian officials were safe.

"Explosion in front of India's Consulate in Jalalabad. All Indians officials safe," Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said on Twitter.

Gunfire resounded through the area for at least an hour following the blast, which struck at around 10am local time, near the consulate entrance.

The attack followed a world-wide travel alert issued by the US on Friday, saying that al-Qaeda could be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

The US has ordered the closure of 21 embassies and consulates on Sunday, including its Kabul mission.

Nangarhar police chief Mohammad Sharif Amin told Reuters that the bomber detonated a car packed with explosives outside the consulate and an adjacent mosque.

The consulate was the intended target, he said, but most casualties were from the mosque.

Roads near the Indian consulate remained blocked as gunfire rattled through the area, deputy provincial police chief Masoom Khan Hashimi said. 

A Taliban spokesman told AFP that the group does not claim responsibility for the attack.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies