Eli Ridder | AFGHANISTAN
Gunmen attacked aid organization Save The Children’s office in the Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday resulting in three deaths and 12 injured, prompting a response from special forces.
One security enforcer was killeed with sporadic gunfire continuing into the evening at the compound.
Five gunmen were confirmed as part of the attack, with an estimated 50 individuals thought to have been in the building at the time of the assault.
Daesh (IS) militants claimed responsibility for the attack while the Taliban denies any connections.
The non-governmental organization’s office was assaulted shortly after 9 a.m. local time with images showing showing smoke rising on the horizon of the city.
Afghan Special Forces arrived on the scene over an hour later, where authorities had cordoned off a large area around the compound.
Concerned relatives of those trapped inside were on the street awaiting the latest from security forces.
Clashes between militants and security force members lasted for 10 hours.
“We are devastated at the news that our SCI office in Jalalabad…came under attack this morning,” Save the Children said in a statement released over four hours after the attack was reported and tweeted by its chief executive Helle Thorning.
“Our primary concern is for the safety and security of our staff,” the statement read, with the organization explaining it could not comment further as it was waiting on more information.
— Helle Thorning S (@HelleThorning_S) January 24, 2018
Formally known as the Save the Children Fund, the office is part of the international non-governmental organization that works to promote children’s rights, provide relief and help support children in developing countries.
Tolo News shared a video showing a burned out car outside the organization’s office.
مقامهای محلی در و لایت ننگرهار تأیید میکنند که گروهی از مهاجمان انتحاری بر دفتر «سیف ده چیلدرن» در شهر جلالآباد حمله کردهاند. pic.twitter.com/Tbal2uAYAO
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) January 24, 2018
Militants blew up a vehicle in front of the compound before other militants entered.
Residents on social media posted images of those fleeing the offices, including children.
British envoy to Afghanistan Nicholas Key condemned the attack on Twitter, calling the incident an “outrage” and that “any attack on children [and] humanitarians is a crime against humanity”, explaining that he hoped for a “quick and safe end” to the situation.
More details to follow. Image of the scene from Tolo News journalist Miraqa Popal.