ISSN 2330-717X

Afghanistan: Islamic State Attacks Prison, Dozens Wounded


(RFE/RL) — Several people have been killed and dozens wounded in an Islamic State terrorist attack on a prison in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

Militants on August 2 detonated a car bomb outside a prison in the provincial capital of Jalalabad and engaged in a gun battle with security forces as they stormed the building from a nearby market.

At least three civilians were killed and 24 people wounded, provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said.

The exact number of casualties remains unknown and is likely to rise.

Officials said between 50 and 100 inmates escaped but many were recaptured.

The prison houses about 1,700 Taliban, Islamic State, and criminal prisoners.

On its Amaq news agency, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed credit for the attack.

The attack occurred one day after Afghan special forces announced they had killed the intelligence chief of the Islamic State’s Afghan headquarters in Jalalabad.

The Taliban denied responsibility for any attacks.

The assault comes on the third and final day of a cease-fire between the Taliban and the Afghan government to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that intra-Afghan talks could begin immediately after festival, as the United States presses for the start of long-awaited negotiations following the signing of a February agreement with the militants.

A major hurdle in launching intra-Afghan talks is the completion of prisoner exchanges.

Over the three-day cease-fire weekend, Ghani said he had released an additional 500 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture, bringing the total number of militants released to 4,600 out of the 5,000 pledged in the landmark agreement.

The Taliban says it has freed all 1,000 prisoners it had pledged in the agreement with Washington, and insists on its demand for the release of the remaining 400 prisoners on the list.

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RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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