Jalalabad: Gunmen take dozens hostage in eastern Afghanistan

Jalalabad: Gunmen take dozens hostage in eastern Afghanistan

Gunmen have taken dozens of people hostage after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a government building in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, according to officials.
Nangarhar provincial government spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP news agency that gunmen had stormed the city’s refugees and repatriations directorate compound after a blast.
At least ten people have been lightly wounded and two critically wounded, according to hospital officials.A gun battle is now under way between security forces and the attackers, provincial officials said. Witnessess also said they had heard at least three explosions.
“The attack has been going on for about six hours after starting at about 11am local time,” Al Jazeera correspondent Charlotte Bellis said from Kabul. “There were two gunmen who set off multiple explosions outside the compound before going inside, where a donor conference was going on to help refugees in Afghanistan”, she said.
According to one witness, a passer-by named Obaidullah, the attack began when a black car with three occupants pulled up at the entrance to a building used by the department of refugee affairs, and a gunman got out firing around him.
One attacker blew himself up at the gate and two gunmen entered the building, which is in an area close to shops and government offices, Obaidullah told Reuters news agency.
Minutes later, the car exploded, wounding people in the street, he said.“We saw several people wounded and helped to carry them away.”Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the local provincial council, said around 40 people appeared to be caught inside the building, which caught fire in the initial stages of the attack.
One hostage had called the security services and told them that the attackers had ordered the people inside not to move, he said.