18 killed, 22 injured in Jalalabad attack
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Eighteen people were killed and 22 others wounded during coordinated bomb attacks and shooting by the Taliban in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday morning, officials said.
Followed by gunbattles, the first explosion occurred when an explosives-laden truck was detonated in the Pashtunistan Square in first police district limits at 5:10am. The second blast took place near the governor's office.
Later, the group of attackers traded intense fire with security forces, Brig. Gen. Fazal Ahmad Sherzad, told Pajhwok Afghan News. Some of the assailants were killed but the rest are still fighting with security forces.
He put the death toll at 18, including 10 policemen, a university student and seven insurgents. The police chief said 14 people were wounded but hospital sources put the number at 22.
Police spokesman Hazrat Omar Mashriqiwal said three suicide bombers detonated their explosives and two others were killed by police. Security personnel also suffered casualties but the exact number remains unclear.
Dr. Humayoun Zahir, the provincial hospital director, confirmed receiving 11 bodies, including 10 policemen, so far. Most of the 22 injured were also policemen, he added.
First police district chief, Aminul Haq, was among the dead. But Mashriqiwal said Haq was injured. Shortly after the incident, people converged on the site to know the fate of their relatives in the police force and in nearby government offices.
One of them, Samiullah, who was not allowed by security forces to approach the site, said his brother was working at the police station.
The National Radio Television (RTA) building was completely destroyed due to the intensity of the blasts. One journalist was injured in the blast, according to an employee of RTA.
Wishing not to be named, an official from the governor office, said security forces had foiled the attackers' attempt to force their way into the palace.
As usual, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the fighters detonated an explosives-laden truck before storming the governor’s office and a police compound. He claimed more than 20 policemen were killed.