Islamic State attack on Afghan prison, killing 21, rages on

JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN (AP) – An Islamic State (IS) group attack on a prison in eastern Afghanistan holding hundreds of its members raged on yesterday after killing at least 21 people in fighting overnight, a local official said.

Another 43 people have been wounded in the assault that began late Sunday when an IS suicide bomber slammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the Jalalabad prison’s entrance.

Militants then opened fire on security forces at the prison in the capital of Nangarhar province, some 115 kilometres east of Kabul.

Three attackers have been killed so far but the battle continued yesterday with sporadic gunfire still coming from the prison grounds, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.

The dead included civilians, prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces, Khogyani said.

Police believe several militants slipped away into a nearby residential complex, making it more difficult to flush them out, authorities said. Afghan Security and Defene Force personnel in armoured vehicles surrounded the prison in the middle of Jalalabad, just 700 metres from the governor’s office. Soldiers were still evacuating residents from the area yesterday as sporadic gunshots rang out.

The IS group’s affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the attack. The affiliate is headquartered in Nangarhar province.

Afghans leave their houses after an attack on a prison in the city of Jalalabad, east of Kabul. PHOTO: AP