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Prison comes under deadly gunmen attack in eastern Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Afghan security forces sitting in a Humvee vehicle amid ongoing fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on May 19, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Gunmen have attacked a prison compound in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, killing at least three people and injuring several others, local officials say.

The spokesman for Nangarhar's provincial governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said on Sunday that the gunmen detonated a car packed with explosives at the entrance gate of the Jalalabad prison before opening fire on security guards.

"A number of them have taken position in a market near the prison and are engaging the security forces," he said.

"Fighting is continuing," he said, but added that government forces were in control of the situation.
The ministry of interior confirmed the attack.

"Based on initial information, at least three people have been killed and five more wounded," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the ministry said.

The Ministry of Interior has also confirmed the explosion in Jalalabad, but did not provide any details.

The Taliban militant group has denied any involvement.

"This is not our attack. Our Mujahideen are not yet authorized to carry out attacks," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. 

A few hours later, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in Jalalabad, with officials saying that at least three bombs exploded outside the jail compound.

Sunday’s attack came on the third and final day of a ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which marks the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

This is while the Afghan government and Taliban are completing the release of prisoners that has been underway in a gradual format as part of a prisoner swap between the two sides.

Negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group were expected to begin “in a week’s time,” following the completion of the prisoner exchange.

The prisoner swap has been an Afghan government obligation under a deal between the United States and the Taliban that was struck in February. The Afghan government, which was not a signatory to the agreement, was required to release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners. The militants, for their part, were obliged to free 1,000 government captives.

The exchange has been regarded as a first step toward broader talks between the government and the militants. Its implementation had faced hurdles since the deal was signed.

The deal envisages a complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban pledged not to attack American and other foreign forces. They made no such pledge in relation to the Afghan government and people.

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