Afghan troops retake prison attacked by IS affiliate; 29 killed

Updated: 04 August, 2020 09:50 IST | Agencies | Jalalabad

The attack highlighted the challenges ahead for Afghanistan, even as US and NATO forces begin to withdraw following America striking a peace deal with the Taliban

Afghan troops take position in a building where insurgents were hiding, on Monday
Afghan troops take position in a building where insurgents were hiding, on Monday

Afghan forces said they retook a prison in the country's east on Monday afternoon, following an hours-long battle a day after the facility was targeted by the Islamic State group in an attack that killed 29 people. The prison is believed to be holding hundreds of IS members.

The attack highlighted the challenges ahead for Afghanistan, even as US and NATO forces begin to withdraw following America striking a peace deal with the Taliban.

Even as Afghan troops seized the prison in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, IS militants continued to fire on Afghan security forces from a nearby neighborhood. Sporadic gunfire rang out from nearby residential buildings in central Jalalabad, an area of high security near the provincial governor's office.

A man carries a victim to hospital, on Sunday. Pics/AP/AFP
A man carries a victim to hospital, on Sunday. Pics/AP/AFP

As security forces swept through the prison, they found the bodies of two Taliban prisoners apparently killed by the IS group, showing the tensions between the two militant factions battling each other in eastern Afghanistan. The 29 dead included civilians, prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces, said Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor's spokesman.

The attack began on Sunday, when an IS suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car up to the prison's main gate, detonating the bomb. IS militants opened fire on the prison's guards and poured in through the breach. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan, known as IS in Khorasan province and headquartered in Nangarhar province, later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The motive of the attack wasn't immediately clear. However, some of the 1,500 prisoners there escaped during the fighting, and about 1,000 were later found by security forces across the city.

50
No. of people injured in the attack

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First Published: 04 August, 2020 08:01 IST

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