Gunmen Storm Afghan Government Building, 12 Dead

ISLAMABAD �

Afghan officials say a group of gunman, including suicide bombers, stormed a government building in the eastern Nangarhar province Sunday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 42 others.

A government spokesman told VOA the attack in the provincial capital of Jalalabad began with a suicide car bombing at the entrance of the provincial directorate of finance.

Attaullah Khogyani said the powerful explosion later enabled eight other assailants to enter the building.

Afghan security forces quickly engaged the attackers and killed them in a shoot out that lasted several hours, Khogyani said. Hospital officials said civilians and police personnel were among those killed and wounded.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. Both IS and Taliban insurgents maintain bases in Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan. Security conditions have deteriorated in the Afghan province.

While the siege was underway, provincial Governor Gulab Mangal announced he was quitting office. Officials said Mangal cited personal reasons and it was not clear whether President Ashraf Ghani would accept the resignation.

Afghan and U.S. officials say several southern districts in Nangarhar province are strongholds of IS's Afghan affiliate named Khorasan Province, commonly referred to as IS-K. The terrorist group has lately intensified attacks in Afghanistan, particularly in the national capital of Kabul.

Sunday's violence comes as the Taliban has stepped up attacks across the country targeting Afghan security forces. Since the beginning of this month, Afghan officials say insurgent attacks have killed more than 300 soldiers and police personnel.

The spike in violence have raised security concerns as the country prepares to hold long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20.

Source: Voice of America