Attack on Jalalabad’s Refugee Directorate leaves 15 dead; UNAMA says ‘deliberately targeted’

An attack on the Directorate of Migrants and Refugees’ Affairs in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Tuesday left 15 people dead and many more wounded. The attack lasted for more than six hours. Provincial officials today confirmed the attack had ended.

Officials said a car bomb was detonated close to the entrance of the compound at about 11.30am and was followed by two gunmen storming the building. A number of officials were able to escape but many more remained trapped.

Gunfire could be heard throughout the day and black fumes rose soon after the attack started.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the attack and in a statement said that the province’s Refugee Department was deliberately targeted by a group of men including suicide bombers. Much of the building was badly damaged in an operation lasting several hours.

“Jalalabad and the surrounding region has in recent months seen a significant number of attacks targeting civilian objects, including schools and hospitals. Earlier this week, Jalalabad witnessed a separate similar suicide attack against a midwifery education centre.

“These attacks deliberately targeting civilians are abhorrent,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“The killings amount to atrocities, and everything must be done to bring the planners to account.”

Earlier in Afghanistan’s Kabul province, at least eight people were killed and 40 others injured as a roadside bomb blast hit a passenger bus in Afganistan’s western province of Farah in Kabul.

“It was a bomb planted by the Taliban to hit security forces but unfortunately it got a passenger bus,” Farah provincial police spokesperson Muhibullah Muhib said.

There was no immediate confirmation that the Taliban was responsible for the blast, but Afghanistan’s largest militant group is very active in the province.

The provincial governor spokesperson Naser Mehri told APF that the explosion occurred immediately as the bus traveled through Bala Baluk district of Farah at 4:30 am (0000 GMT).

Photos posted on social media purportedly of the bus showed the vehicle’s blackened shell and dozens of Afghan men standing at the scene.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the 17-year conflict and improvised explosion devices, such as remotly detonated or pressure-plate bombs, are one of the main causes of casualties.

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