At least 21 people, including civilians and prisoners, have been killed in battles between security forces and gunmen who participated in the operation to storm a prison in Afghanistan adopted by ISIS, officials said on Monday.
Fighting continues, a day after militants stormed the prison in the eastern city of Jalalabad, which includes ISIS and Taliban fighters.
The Islamic State, through its affiliate Amaq agency, claimed responsibility for the operation, according to the SITE Center, which specializes in monitoring jihadist sites.
Spokesman for the Governor of Nangarhar Ata Allah Khujiani confirmed that the gunmen were stationed inside and outside the facility.
Several armored vehicles and dozens of security personnel were deployed to the area, while gunfire and explosions were heard.
A spokesman for Nangarhar State Hospital Zahir Adil told AFP that 21 people had been killed so far, including security personnel.
He warned that the toll could rise with more than 40 people with critical conditions.
The attack violated the relative calm that the country witnessed thanks to the agreed ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government forces, which began on Friday, coinciding with the Eid al Adha holiday.
A security source told AFP that the prison contained more than 1700 inmates, most of them fighters from the Taliban or ISIS.
He stated that the authorities had succeeded in re-arresting about 700 prisoners who had fled during the prison storming operation.
Khojiani said that the security forces have so far been able to comb four of the five floors of the building outside the prison, where a number of the attackers were stationed since Sunday night.
The attack began with a car bombing near the prison, before gunmen opened fire on the guards at the facility from a nearby market, an official said.
The operation came a day after the country’s intelligence agency announced the killing of the Islamic State leader, Assadullah Orakzai, near Jalalabad.
The Director-General of Security in Afghanistan said that Orakzai was involved in a number of bloody attacks targeting Afghan security forces.
The eastern province of Nangarhar is witnessing repeated attacks, a number of which have been claimed by the Islamic State.
On May 12, a suicide bomber blew himself up during the funeral of a state police officer, killing 32 people, in the bloodiest attack in Afghanistan this year, claimed by ISIS.