Afghanistan: Clashes ongoing at Jalalabad education building


At least two people have been killed in an ongoing attack at a government building of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, with gunmen battling security forces, local officials said. 

Armed men entered an office of the education department in the provincial capital of Nangarhar at around 9:30am (04:30GMT) on Wednesday, setting off at least two big explosions in the ongoing attack.

“I can confirm an armed attack on a branch of the education department in Jalalabad [city],” Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the Nangarhar provincial governor, told AFP news agency.

One security guard was among the dead, Asif Shinwari, spokesperson for the Nangarhar education department told Tolo News, a Kabul-based news website.

At least five people have also been wounded and brought to hospital, Najibullah Kamawal, Jalalabad health director, confirmed to AFP.

With an unknown number of people trapped inside the building, Ghulam Sanayi Stanekzai, Jalalabad police chief, told Tolo News: “Our first priority is to rescue those people who are stuck inside”. 

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the raid.

 

This is the third major attack in Jalalabad in less than two weeks following a blast that killed a group of Sikhs on July 1, and a second attack in which at least 12 people were killed on Tuesday.

Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, has been the scene of numerous attacks recently as armed rebels step up activity in the restive region.

Afghan security forces have struggled to battle the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in the country in 2014 and shifted their focus to a support and counterterrorism role.

Last year, the US pledged to increase its support to struggling Afghan forces, announcing plans for thousands of additional advisers and increasing air raids in a bid to force the Taliban to enter peace negotiations.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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