Assault on compound, roadside bomb kill 26 in Afghanistan

Smoke rises from a building after a deadly attack including a suspected suicide car bombing and gunbattles, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. An Afghan provincial official said a coordinated attack was underway by the Taliban in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province. (AP Photo)

Afghan officials say militants launched a coordinated assault on a government compound in an eastern city that killed at least 15 people, and a roadside bomb struck a passenger bus in western Afghanistan, killing at least 11

KABUL, Afghanistan — A coordinated assault on a government compound in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 15 people and a roadside bomb in the western part of the country killed 11 on Tuesday, Afghan officials said.

A suicide car bomb went off outside a repatriation center in the eastern city of Jalalabad, allowing two gunmen to storm the compound and setting off a six-hour battle. Attahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the militants killed at least 15 people, including a woman and a policeman.

He said another 15 people were wounded before the two gunmen were killed by security forces.

Another 31 civilians were wounded in the bus bombing, which took place in the western Farah province, according to Abdul Jabar Shahiq, the provincial health department chief. He said the bus was on its way from Herat province to the capital, Kabul, and that women and children were among the casualties.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Taliban and the Islamic State group carry out near-daily attacks in the Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.

The Taliban also have a strong presence in Farah, where they often plant roadside bombs to target government officials or security forces. Such attacks often end up killing civilians.

Farah has seen heavy fighting in recent months, with local officials and tribal elders requesting reinforcements to support the overburdened army and police. In May, more than 300 Taliban launched a multi-pronged attack on the city of Farah, the provincial capital, before they were repelled. At least 25 government forces were killed in the fighting.

The U.N. mission to Afghanistan said 1,692 civilians have been killed in the first six months of this year, the highest six-month casualty rate since the systematic documentation of such casualties began in 2009.

Since the United States and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, a resurgent Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country and an Islamic State affiliate has staged high-profile attacks that have killed scores of civilians.

On Tuesday, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing the day before in Nangarhar province that killed the commander of a local government-allied militia and three others.

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Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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