Multiple explosions and shootings in the eastern Afghan city

JALALABAD, Afghanistan – Afghan security forces fought for hours against a group of attackers who assaulted a government building in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday after a coordinated assault that killed at least 15 people and wounded 42, local officials said.
A car bomb was detonated at the entrance to the state accounts office before a group of about six attackers armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades rushed through the building, officials said. There were multiple explosions when fighting against the security forces in a shootout that lasted most of the day.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, in a crowded area of ​​the city with many other nearby official buildings, including a school in which around 1,000 girls were trapped as the fighting unfolded.
It was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks that killed and wounded hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan this year and put heavy pressure on the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.
Most have been in the capital Kabul, but in January armed men attacked an office of the Save the Children relief group in Jalalabad, killing at least five people and injuring 25. That attack, also claimed by Islamic State, followed the same pattern that the incident on Sunday.
After several hours of clashes that sent plumes of smoke into the sky over the accounts office, Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the Sunday clash had ended with the deaths of all the armed men.
Public health officials said that at least 15 people, including a child, had died and 42 had been injured. Witnesses said that the explosions had caused carnage among passers-by.
“I saw two rickshaw drivers on the ground with their arms ripped off,” said Khan Mohammad, a local resident who saw the initial explosions and the start of the shooting.
Violence has increased throughout Afghanistan since the announcement of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive last month and security fears over preparations for the October elections have increased.
Dozens of people have been killed in voter registration centers in recent weeks, raising fears that people can stay away from elections that are considered important proof of the government’s credibility.
At the same time, Taliban fighters have stepped up pressure on government forces across the country, from Baghlan province in the north, where they took a district center last week, to Farah in the southwest or Ghazni, south of Kabul.
Last year, the United States increased its support for afflicted Afghan forces, announcing plans for thousands of additional advisors and more air strikes in an effort to force the Taliban into peace negotiations.

Mangat Media

Rajbir Mangat

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