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The Financial Express

Islamic State attack leads to mass jailbreak in Afghanistan

| Updated: August 03, 2020 16:24:25


Afghan security forces transport detained prisoners who escaped from a jail after insurgents attacked a jail compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on August 3, 2020 — Reuters photo Afghan security forces transport detained prisoners who escaped from a jail after insurgents attacked a jail compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on August 3, 2020 — Reuters photo

Islamic State militants were battling Afghan security forces in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Monday morning, after an overnight assault on a prison that led to a mass jailbreak, officials said.

The assault began on Sunday evening with car bomb detonated at the entrance to the prison, and there were numerous other blasts heard as the IS gunmen opened fire on security guards.

Two Nangarhar province officials said at least five civilians were killed, and around 40 wounded during the initial attack and the gunbattle through the night, as Afghan special forces arrived to support police.

During the ensuing chaos more than 75 prisoners escaped, forcing police to divert manpower to try to recapture them, according to the officials.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said special forces had killed a senior commander of the group near Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.

Some 130 kilometres (80 miles) east of Kabul, Jalalabad lies on the highway leading to the Khyber Pass and the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

A United Nations report last month estimated there are around 2,200 IS members in Afghanistan, and that while the group is in territorial retreat and its leadership has been depleted, it remains capable of carrying out high-profile attacks.

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