ISLAMABAD - Afghan authorities say an attack on a government building in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 15 people.
Officials said the assailants targeted the department for refugee affairs in Jalalabad, capital of the Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan.
Provincial government spokesman Attahullah Khogyani told VOA the attack began with a suicide bomber blowing himself up at the entrance and enabling the assailants to storm the building where a high-level meeting was underway. An hours-long gunbattle ensued.
The Taliban insurgency has denied its involvement in the attack, strengthening suspicions Islamic State could be behind the violence. The terrorist group has claimed most of the attacks in Nangarhar in the past month, including beheading of three school guards and a suicide blast that killed 19 people, mostly members of the tiny Afghan Sikh minority.
“The country’s franchise of Islamic State [known as IS-K] has managed to gain a foothold in the province when it had failed elsewhere, exploiting the disarray of government forces and the fragmentation of the local insurgency,” said the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism in a report the watchdog issued Monda
Meanwhile, in western Farah province, officials said a roadside bomb early Tuesday killed at least 11 passengers and wounding around 40 others.
A provincial government spokesman, Nasar Mehri, told VOA that women and children were among the victims. He claimed that Taliban insurgents had recently planted the bomb in the Bala Buluk district to target Afghan security forces.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the deadly blast.
Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the armed conflict and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. The United Nations reported earlier this month that the violence has killed nearly 1,700 civilians, the highest number of fatalities in a six-month period in the last decade.