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General News    H3'ed 8/3/20

Militants storm prison in Afghanistan killing 29 people

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Afghan forces say they have retaken Jalalabad prison after at least 29 people were killed in hours-long battle following a Daesh-claimed attack on the facility, Afghan Ariana TV reported Monday. Another 50 people were wounded in the attack.

The assault led to a mass jailbreak from the prison believed to be holding hundreds of Daesh members, Ariana said.

The prison houses about 2,000 inmates, including many from Daesh and the Taliban, Al Jazeera reported.

The Afghan Army's Chief of Staff General Yasin Zia also arrived in the city Monday morning to lead the operation.

The gunbattle between militants and security forces lasted about 20 hours. Security forces seized the prison in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, some 115 kilometres (70 miles) east of Kabul, Defense Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said on Monday afternoon.

The attack highlighted the challenges ahead for Afghanistan, even as US and NATO forces begin to withdraw following the Trump administration striking a peace deal with the Taliban, according to Ariana.

As security forces swept through the prison, they found the bodies of two Taliban prisoners apparently killed by the Daesh, showing the tensions between the two militant factions battling each other in eastern Afghanistan.

The attack began on Sunday, when a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives up to the prison's main gate, detonating the bomb. The militants opened fire on the prison's guards and poured through the breach.

Some 30 militants were involved in the attack on the prison, which houses around 2,000 prisoners, of which several hundred are believed to belong to the Daesh affiliate, according to Sohrab Qaderi, a lawmaker in the capital of Nangarhar province.

Daesh group claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency said special forces had killed a senior commander of the group near Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar.

A statement late on Saturday by the National Directorate of Security said the slain militant was Assadullah Orakzai, an intelligence leader for the Daesh affiliate in Afghanistan.

Orakzai was suspected of being involved in several deadly attacks against both military and civilian targets in Afghanistan.

The Taliban denied they were involved in the assault, that came on the final day of a rare truce between the Taliban and Kabul to mark the Eid al Adha holiday. "This is not our attack. Our mujahideen are not yet authorized to carry out attacks," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Hundreds of Taliban prisoners were recently released in an attempt to make a final push for intra-Afghan peace talks.

President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that long-delayed negotiations could begin immediately after the Eid al Adha festival, which took place in Kabul.

The Taliban says it has freed all 1,000 Afghan prisoners it had pledged to release in a deal with the United States.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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