A day after Islamabad militants attacked the facility, the Afghan army reopened the prison in the eastern part of the country on Monday afternoon after the facility was attacked by Islamic State militants, killing 29 people. It is believed that the prison can accommodate hundreds of IS members.
The attack highlighted the challenges facing Afghanistan, even after the Taliban peace agreement was reached earlier this year, the United States and NATO troops began to withdraw.
Fawad Aman, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said that the prison in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province, about 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of Kabul, was withdrawn at 24:00. He said the fighting also injured at least 50 people.
Even if the Afghan army withdrew from the prison, IS militants continued to open fire on the Afghan security forces from nearby neighborhoods. There were sporadic gunfire from residential buildings near the center of Jalalabad, and the safe area near the office of the Governor of Jalalabad was high.
When the security forces swept through the prison, they found that the bodies of two Taliban prisoners were apparently killed by the Islamic State group, indicating that the two militant factions were fighting each other in eastern Afghanistan.
The governor’s spokesperson, Atala Khojani, said that the 29 people were killed, including civilians, prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces.
After the battle, the Afghan army raised the black IS banner captured in the battle. Several Taliban prisoners peeped at reporters and media personnel at the scene from behind the windows with windows.
The attack began on Sunday, when an Islamic State suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives to the prison gate and detonated the bomb. Islamic State militants opened fire on prison guards and poured in through breaches.
The Afghan IS affiliate is called IS in Khorasan Province and is headquartered in Nangarhar Province. It later claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, some of the 1,500 prisoners there escaped during the battle. Khyogyani said that security forces throughout the city found about 1,000 prisoners who had escaped earlier. It is not clear whether the prisoner is still at large.
Authorities said the Afghan special forces launched an attack the day after they killed a senior Islamic State commander near Jalalabad. Hundreds of prisoners in Jalalabad are believed to be members of the Islamic State.
Aman, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said that the fighting was over after the last attacker was killed in a nearby residential area. He said that 10 IS attackers were also killed during the operation. The attackers killed 5 prisoners before the end of the attack, including two members of the rival Taliban.
After several years of fighting, the Islamic State group has eliminated the so-called caliphate all over Iraq and Syria, but the group is still fighting in Afghanistan. The extremists also fought the Taliban in the country. After the attacks on September 11, the United States overthrew the Taliban after the United States-led invasion in 2001.
Suhail Shaheen, a political spokesman for the Taliban, told the Associated Press that his organization was not involved in the Jalalabad attack. The United States reached a peace agreement with the Taliban in February. The second round of crucial negotiations between the Taliban and Kabul political leaders has not yet begun.
The Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire starting last Friday, which is the main Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The ceasefire expired at 12 o’clock in the morning on Monday, but it is not clear whether it will be extended because the United States has urged an early start of intra-Afghan negotiations, which have been repeatedly postponed since Washington and the Taliban signed a peace agreement.
“We have a cease-fire and are not involved in any of these attacks anywhere in the country,” Shaheen said.
The Taliban also denied participating in the suicide bombing in eastern Logar province, killing at least 9 people and wounding 40 people.
There has been a surge in violence in Afghanistan recently, with local IS subsidiaries claiming that most of the attacks have occurred.