UPDATES WITH DEATH TOLL, DAESH CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY, CONDEMNATIONS
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) - A suicide car bomber targeted an office of the British charity, Save the Children, in eastern Nangarhar province’s Jalalabad city on Wednesday, leaving at least two people dead and ten others wounded, according to preliminary reports.
The bomb attack was followed by gunfire; clashes between security forces and assailants were continuing. Initial reports suggest there had been several casualties and many vehicles of the nongovernmental organization 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. (0430 GMT) when a car packed with explosives rammed into the main gate of the charity office in Jalalabad.
Khogyani said a civilian and a policeman have lost lives in the clashes while two out of three attackers involved in firefight with the special units of the police have also been 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 expressed in a statement minutes after the brazen assault on its office.
The 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, it said the British, Swedish and Afghan charity organizations have been targeted by three of their attackers.
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan is located close to the Save the Children in a residential area in Jalalabad.
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.