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Jalalabad siege leaves 15 dead, as many wounded

Jalalabad siege leaves 15 dead, as many wounded

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Jul 31, 2018 - 17:14

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Fifteen people were killed and another as many wounded after gunmen stormed the refugee department in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province on Tuesday.

The attack involving three assailants began at about 12pm when one of the attackers detonated his explosives-laden vehicle at the entrance to the refugee and repatriation department in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.

Then the two attackers entered the department, sparking a five-hour long standoff with security forces. The carnage came to an end at 5pm when the last attacker was eliminated, said the governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani.

He said the attack took place when a meeting of supporting organizations about assistance for refugees was underway.

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He said the meeting participants were all Afghans and they were moved to safety during the attack. Those rescued included the refugee department director, representatives of supporting organizations and a number of staff.

Khogyani said the assailants first detonated a car bomb at the entrance of the refugee department and the remaining two attackers were killed by security forces after an hours long gun battle.

He said the dead included 14 civilians including a woman and a policeman. He said fifteen people were also wounded in the attack and nine of them were discharged after first medical aid.

An eyewitness, Abdullah Sherzad, also an employee of the Nangarhar rural development department, said the attackers were firing, lobbing hand grenades and torching whatever came their way.

“We had a meeting on the third floor. The attackers first came to the first floor, then second and finally third. I was in a room that was torched, so I went to another room which was also set afire, then I took refuge on the rooftop until the attack ended,” he said, confirming there were two attackers inside the compound.

Mastan, an elderly man, said his son, an employee of the refugee department, was missing even after the attack had ended.

The attack comes a day after a suicide bomber killed an influential tribal elder along with three others in Rodat district.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack on the refugee department, saying the terrorist criminals had turned their guns on innocent people, schools and public places after facing defeat at the hands of Afghan security forces on the battlefield.

In a statement issued from the Presidential Palace, the president said the attack was aimed at weakening the government’s and people’s resolve to continue their journey towards development and prosperity.

Ghani said it was not possible for terrorist groups to reach their goals through inhuman and un-Islamic acts. He extended his deep condolences to the families of those killed and wounded in the terrorist attack, reassuring the Afghan forces would continue to target the hideouts of terrorists.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

ma/nh

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