Suicide car bomb, gunmen attack prison in east Afghanistan

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KABUL: A suicide car bomb and multiple gunmen attacked a prison in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, Afghan officials said, killing at least one person and injuring 20 others.

The gun battle between Afghan security forces and insurgents in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, was still ongoing Sunday evening, and casualties were likely to rise, according to Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Ajmal Omer, a provincial council member, and Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, also confirmed the attack.

No one immediately claimed responsibility but both Taliban and the local Islamic State group’s affiliate are active in eastern Afghanistan. The IS affiliate is headquartered in Nangarhar province.

Sunday’s attack comes a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said a senior IS commander was killed by Afghan special forces near Jalalabad.

The Taliban’s political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told The Associated Press: “We have a cease fire and are not involved in any of these attacks anywhere in the country,” but said he was not aware of the details of the Jalalabad attack.

The Taliban declared a three-day cease-fire starting Friday for the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The Taliban had also denied involvement in a suicide bombing in the eastern Logar province late Thursday, which killed at least nine people and wounded at least 40, authorities said.

Afghanistan has seen a recent spike in violence, with most attacks claimed by the local IS affiliate.

Efforts to get peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government underway have stalled after the Taliban and the US signed a deal in February, seen as a blueprint to ending Afghanistan’s decades of war.

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