Mass manhunt launched after ISIS attack prison in Afghanistan – fears hundreds escaped

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The attack began on Sunday night when an ISIS suicide bomber slammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the prison’s entrance. Militants then opened fire on prison guards who tried to defend the facility in the capital of Nangarhar province, 70 miles east of Kabul.

Officials said at least three bombs exploded outside.

Attaullah Khogyani, the spokesperson for the local government in Nangarhar, said 43 were wounded alongside the 21 killed.

The death toll includes civilians, prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces.

Police believe several militants disappeared into a nearby residential complex, where they may be hiding.


Mr Khogyani added that security personnel were taking cautious action to avoid civilian casualties.

The prison, which was surrounded by Afghan Security and Defence troops in armoured vehicles, is located half a mile from the governor’s office.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISKP), the Afghan affiliate of ISIS which has been fighting US troops, government forces and the Taliban in recent years, claimed responsibility in a statement.

The group also claimed to have freed hundreds of prisoners.

Gunfights between attackers and government troops continued on Monday morning and ISKP claims improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been planted along the road to the prison.

This has been done to deter the response of government forces and their Western backers, they claim in the statement.

The prison holds around 1,500 prisoners.

One-third of these are believed to be ISKP militants while the rest are of the Taliban and other criminals.

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Mr Khogyani told reporters nearly 1,000 prisoners who had tried to escape had been re-captured by security forces, though with the firefight at the prison ongoing it remains unclear how many prisoners were able to evade re-arrest.

Around 300 prisoners had been recaptured and taken to a nearby military base, it has been claimed.

The attack came a day after the Afghan intelligence agency killed a senior ISIS group commander near Jalalabad.

The Taliban’s political spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, told The Associated Press that his group was not involved in the Jalalabad attack.

“We have a ceasefire and are not involved in any of these attacks anywhere in the country,” he said.

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