KABUL – At least six people were killed and 20 others were injured on Wednesday in a suicide attack on the headquarters of the NGO Save the Children in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, officials said.
The attack, claimed by the Islamic State terror organization, began at 9:10 am and was followed by clashes between assailants and Afghan security forces.
Local government spokesman, Attaullah Khogyanai, said two security guards, one civilian and three attackers were killed.
The attack began after a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the entrance to the building, after which several assailants entered and opened fire, Nangarhar police spokesperson Hazrat Hussain told EFE.
A member of the provincial council of Nangarhar, Zabihullah Zmarai, said an injured assailant was believed to still be in the building and resisting security forces.
Save the Children has condemned the attack, saying on Twitter that the NGO’s “primary concern is for the safety and security of our staff. We are awaiting further information from our team, and cannot comment further at this time.”
The IS claimed the attack later on Wednesday, saying it was carried out by four suicide bombers.
In a message sent on the Telegram app by the Amaq news agency, which is affiliated to the group, the IS said the “martyrdom operation” was aimed at two foreign institutions, one British and the other Swiss, and a government organization.
Armed insurgents and criminal organizations often target NGOs in Afghanistan, where the security situation has deteriorated considerably over the past decade.
In October last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it would be “drastically” reducing “its presence and activities” in the country after seven staff members were killed and several of its buildings were attacked.
Nangarhar, a province which borders Pakistan, is one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and IS are known to operate.