UPDATES WITH UN SECRETARY GENERAL STATEMENT
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - At least two people were killed and 10 others wounded Wednesday when a suicide car bomber targeted an office of the British charity Save the Children in eastern Nangarhar province’s city of Jalalabad, according to preliminary reports.
The attack was followed by gunfire; clashes between security forces and assailants were continuing. Initial reports suggest several casualties and a number of vehicles of the non profilt group were also on fire after the suicide attack.
Nangarhar provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told Anadolu Agency the attack took place at around 9 a.m. (0430GMT) when a car packed with explosives rammed into the main gate of the charity’s office.
Khogyani said a civilian and a policeman lost their lives in the clashes while two out of three attackers involved in the firefight with the special units of the police were also killed.
“Security forces are on the spot and engaging with the terrorists,” he said and added that many vehicles belonging to the charity group had caught fire following the suicide attack.
According to the local Shamshaad TV, more than 10 people were confirmed wounded as clashes continued.
"We are devastated at the news that our SCI office in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan came under attack this morning. Our primary concern is for the safety and security of our staff. We are awaiting further information and cannot comment further at this time," Save the Children said in a statement minutes after the attack.
Pro-Daesh militants in Afghanistan have taken responsibility for the attack. The militants have bastions in southern districts of the province bordering tribal areas of Pakistan.
In a statement posted on the Daesh’s propaganda news agency, Aimaq, the group said the British, Swedish and Afghan charity organizations have been targeted by three of their attackers.
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan is located near Save the Children in a residential area in Jalalabad.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres "is appalled and deeply saddened by the attack on the offices of the international NGO Save the Children", his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
"Aid workers, and their premises and assets, should never be a target. The Secretary-General reiterates that all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan are obliged under international law to protect humanitarian workers and civilians," Dujarric said.
Tobias Thyberg, Ambassador of Sweden to Afghanistan, has said in a statement that attacking those who risk their lives to bring development and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is an “unacceptable” crime against the international law and an affront to the people of Afghanistan and their friends.
International aid and humanitarian organizations, including the UN, condemned the attack on Save the Children.
Similar attacks have already forced the International Committee of Red Cross to limit operations in Afghanistan, leaving thousands of needy Afghans in disarray.
*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington