Afghanistan: Government building attacked in Jalalabad, nine dead

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Assailants have attacked a provincial government building in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least nine people and wounding 36 others, health officials said.

Attahullah Khogyani, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said a suicide car bomb exploded outside the building, which belongs to the provincial finance directorate.

The attackers then stormed the building, trading fire with security officials.

He said security forces killed one of the attackers and surrounded the building, adding that he gun battle was still under way.

Inamullah Miakhial, spokesman for the Nangarhar hospital, said nine people were killed and more than 35 wounded.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Both the Taliban and a local Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) affiliate have carried out numerous attacks in Nangarhar.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and ISIL since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat role in the country in 2014, shifting to a support and counterterrorism mission.

The Taliban have seized control of districts across the country, and the two groups have carried out attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in recent months that killed scores of people.

On Monday, 17 people were killed when a bomb went off at a mosque as worshippers gathered to pray and register in the improvised voter registration centre.

Neither ISIL, nor the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

On May 9, a suicide attack by ISIL on two police stations in the Afghan capital Kabul killed 5 people and wounded 16 others.

Voter registration sites have been particularly targeted as the country prepares to hold its long-delayed legislative elections, set to take place in October.

Last year, the US pledged to increase its support to struggling Afghan forces, announcing plans for thousands of additional advisers and increasing air strikes in a bid to force the Taliban to enter peace negotiations.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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