Afghanistan: Blasts, gunfire rock Jalalabad


Militants attacked a provincial government building in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens, according to provincial officials.

Attahullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar province, said the building belonging to the provincial finance directorate in the provincial capital, Jalalabad. There were multiple blasts as they fought off security forces in a gun battle that lasted much of the day. He later said the heavily-armed attackers were also carrying grenades. Security forces were able to rescue around 50 employees stuck in the building during the attack, he added.

"Around noon a big boom shook our building", one employee, Qaisar, said. More explosions were heard later coming from inside the building, the official added. My friends ran to hide and I jumped from a window.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Jalalabad is the capital of restive Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan.

Public health officials said that at least 15 people, including a child, had been killed and 42 wounded.

The Taliban and ISIS have made clear their intentions to disrupt the elections.

However, the Taliban is now taking part in its annual spring offensive and has launched a number of attacks in recent weeks. Some areas of the province are a stronghold of the ISIS group but Taliban fighters are also active there.

Their Operation Al Khandaq will target U.S. forces and "their intelligence agents" as well as their "internal supporters", a Taliban statement said on April 25.

Heavy security forces arrived at the spot of the attack.