Two gunmen killed after taking over government building in eastern Afghan city

As many as 40 people, including members of local refugee charities, were thought to be held by militants in the building in Jalalabad

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 10:27pm

Two gunmen who stormed a government building in Jalalabad on Tuesday have been killed in a shoot-out with Afghan security forces.

“Fighting is over and both attackers have been killed,” said Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.

At least 15 people were killed and 14 wounded in the assault.

Several blasts were heard before the attackers entered the compound of the refugees and repatriations department, Khogyani said earlier. Several foreign organisations are also in the vicinity.

“Security forces have been deployed to the site to kill the terrorists and rescue those people who are stuck inside the department,” Khogyani said.

A number of people were taken hostage by the attackers, said Zabiullah Zmarary, a provincial council member. “We don’t know the exact number.”

Before the attack began representatives of foreign donors and agencies were meeting department employees inside the building, Khogyani said.

It was not clear whether the meeting was still under way when the attackers entered the compound.

At least 14 people were wounded and a “large number” of employees had been rescued, Khogyani said.

“I saw a black Corolla car drop three armed men at the gate of the refugees and repatriations department,” a witness said.

At least one of the men blew himself up at the gate and two others entered the building, the witness said.

Gunfire was heard as security forces swarmed into the area and a plume of thick, black smoke rose above the department’s compound.

The Taliban denied involvement in the attack in a WhatsApp message sent to journalists.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes three days after militants raided a midwife training centre in Jalalabad.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse