- Civilians, prison inmates, and security forces were among the victims.
- The background to the attack was initially unclear.
- The insurgent Taliban denied any responsibility after the attack on the prison.
At least 36 people were killed in a major attack by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia on a prison in eastern Afghanistan. Another around 50 people were wounded in the hours of fighting in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, a provincial spokesman said on Monday.
Civilians, prison inmates, and security forces were among the victims. At least seven attackers were killed. IS already claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday evening.
The attackers first detonated a car bomb on Sunday evening and then stormed the prison. The battles continued 22 hours later, on Monday afternoon. The Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Mohammed Jasin Sia, led the military operation. The IS fighters temporarily entrenched themselves in prison and in nearby buildings.
How many inmates were able to escape from the prison after the attack remained unclear at first. A provincial spokesman said that more than 1,000 of the approximately 1,800 detainees were arrested after attempting to escape. Several hundred inmates in the Jalalabad detention center are believed to have been ISIS fighters.
At least 24 people were killed and 43 others wounded in the attack in Jalalabad, a provincial spokesman said on Monday. Civilians, prisoners, and security forces were among the victims. Special forces killed three attackers.
Meanwhile, an unknown number of attackers were entrenched in the detention center and in a nearby building. Afghan special forces tried to control the situation. A provincial council described catastrophic conditions in prison to the German press agency. The detainees have no access to water. “They are in a very bad position waiting for their death every second,” said Suhrab Ghaderi on Monday.
According to the authorities, numerous inmates were able to break out and around 1,000 detainees were arrested again. The background to the attack was initially unclear.
On Saturday, Afghanistan’s domestic intelligence announced the death of ISIS leader Assadullah Oroksai, who had been killed by special forces near Jalalabad. In April, special commandos arrested Aslam Faruki, the leader of the IS in Afghanistan.
Nangarhar was once considered a stronghold of IS in Afghanistan before the government announced its military victory over the terrorists in late 2019. Nevertheless, IS continues to carry out attacks in the country. According to a report by the UN Security Council, around 2,200 IS fighters operate in Afghanistan. Experts believe that following a possible peace agreement between the militant Islamic Taliban and the Afghan government, ISIS could receive Taliban fighters who refuse to reach an agreement with the government.
The insurgent Taliban denied any responsibility after the attack on the prison. For the festival of Eid al-Adha sacrifice, they had agreed with Kabul on a nationwide, three-day ceasefire, which was adhered to except for a few incidents. The Afghan government and the Taliban have been planning peace talks for months, but they had stalled over a dispute over the exchange of prisoners.
The Conflict in the Country Continues
The United States signed an agreement with the Taliban on February 29 in Doha, Qatar. It provides for the withdrawal of international troops and an exchange of prisoners as a confidence-building measure and is intended to pave the way for peace talks within Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban pledged to end their relationship with other terrorist organizations. According to a report by the UN Security Council, there are still links to al-Qaeda.