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Blast near Save the Children aid group office in Afghanistan, official says

#WORLD NEWSJANUARY 24, 2018 / 1:17 PM / UPDATED 38 MINUTES AGO Reuters Staff 2 MIN READ JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Attackers set off a car bomb near the office of the Save the Children aid agency in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and then clashed with security forces, a provincial government spokesman said.

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Vehicles are seen on fire after a blast in Jalalabad, Afghanistan January 24, 2018.REUTERS/Parwiz

“There was a blast and the target was Save the Children,” said the spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani. A clash was going on after the blast, he said.

Khogyani had no word on casualties but the director of the provincial health department said 11 wounded people had been taken to hospital.

 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

 
 
People run away from a site of a blast near the office of the Save the Children aid agency in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in this still image taken from Reuters TV footage, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/ReutersTV

There were several other aid groups and government offices in the immediate area, raising the possibility that Save the Children was not the target.

Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province, on the porous border with Pakistan.

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The province has become a stronghold for Islamic State, which has grown to become one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous militant groups since it appeared around the beginning of 2015.
 

Backed by intensive U.S. air strikes, Afghan forces have claimed growing success against the Taliban and other militant groups, including Islamic State, but attacks on civilian targets have continued, causing heavy casualties.

The attack in Jalalabad came just days after Taliban militants attacked the Hotel Intercontinental in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 20 people, including 13 foreigners.

Reporting by Ahman Sultan and Rafiq Sherzad; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Paul Tait

 
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