Suicide bombers detonated an explosives-packed car outside the Indian consulate in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday, officials said, killing at least eight civilians.

A spokesman for the Taliban immediately denied any responsibility for the attack, which rocked the city and left several houses, tailors and other nearby shops badly damaged.

"A car containing explosives hit a barrier near the consulate and detonated," Ahmadzia Abdulzai, spokesman for Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital, told AFP. "There were three suicide bombers in the car."

Nangarhar police chief Sharif Amin said that at least eight civilians had been killed and 22 wounded in the strike, with many children and old people among the victims.

The casualty figures were confirmed by officials at the private hospital that received the dead and wounded.

Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry in New Delhi, said on his Twitter feed that the attack had been "in front" of the consulate, but that all officials were safe.

India, which has spent more than two billion dollars of aid in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime fell in 2001, has been previously targeted in the war-torn country.

In 2008, a car bomb attack on the Indian embassy compound killed more than 60 people and, in 2010, suicide attacks on two guesthouses killed at least 16 people including seven Indians.

An AFP photographer reported that ambulances rushed to the scene in Jalalabad and took the injured to hospital as security forces cordoned off the area around the blast site.

"Our fighters have not carried out any attack in Jalalabad," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. "We do not claim the responsibility for this attack."