Multiple bomb blasts at jail compound in Afghanistan, 1 killed and 20 injured – officials

At least one person was killed after a series of bombs exploded outside a jail compound in the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. Clashes broke out between police and attacking militants who made their way inside the jail.

One major car-bomb explosion was followed by two smaller blasts near the prison complex, provincial council member Sohrab Qaderi said, according to Reuters.

A large police force was deployed to counter the militants, who took up position outside the compound and have since made their way inside the complex.

Afghanistan’s TOLO news agency quoted a spokesman for the Nangarhar province governor, who said one person was killed in the first explosion at the prison’s entrance gate. 

Eyewitnesses told the news outlet that the initial car bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber to clear the way for attackers to enter the prison compound.

Meanwhile, Nangarhar province police chief Emal Neyazi told the agency that two blasts also went off inside the prison and that dozens of prisoners escaped but were later re-captured.

Qaderi said the clashes between the two sides were heavy and ongoing. Footage posted on social media shows black smoke rising from the area where the prison is located.

Local media reported that the Taliban, which agreed to a three-day ceasefire with government forces beginning on Friday, denied involvement in the attack.

So far, no other militant group has claimed responsibility.

The Afghan government has released hundreds of Taliban prisoners during the three-day truce for the Eid al-Adha Islamic holiday as the two sides prepare for fresh peace talks. Talks were expected to begin in March under a deal signed with the US in February, but were delayed as infighting over prisoner releases dragged on.

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