Afghanistan: Gunmen storm Jalalabad medical building

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Gunmen stormed a medical training centre in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, wounding at least four people, with a dozen people trapped in the facility as security forces attempt to rescue them. 

Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard from within the building for trainee midwives early on Saturday, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial government.

Dozens of civilians were rescued and four wounded people were taken to hospital. Ambulances and security services were deployed to the scene.

‘Attack ongoing’

Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis, reporting from the Afghan capital Kabul, said intelligence officials had obtained information on a possible attack on the building and were able to move 69 people in the compound into safe rooms.


“The attack is ongoing and the special forces are trying to secure the area and get to the people within the safe rooms,” Bellis said.

A witness told AFP news agency he heard several blasts and then saw three gunmen enter the street where the midwife centre is located.

Security forces appeared to be dismantling improvised explosive devices apparently planted in the street by the attackers.

No immediate claim of responsibility was made.

Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, has been rocked by a number of attacks within recent weeks.

At least 10 people were killed and another 10 wounded during an assault on a government building in the city on July 11, a day after 12 people were killed and four others hurt by a suicide bombing at a security checkpoint.

A separate suicide attack carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), killed 19 people on July 1.

Both ISIL and the Taliban are active in Jalalabad with Afghan security forces struggling to battle both groups after the US and NATO officially concluded their combat mission in the country four years ago.

US involvement


Last year, US President Donald Trump pledged the United States would continue fighting in Afghanistan in a bid to avoid the “predictable and unacceptable” results of a premature withdrawal from the country.

“A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill,” Trump said.

Following Trump’s speech, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announced the deployment of 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan – taking the overall tally to about 14,000 – where the US has been at war since 2001.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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