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Atleast 21 Dead in Islamic State Terror Attack on Central Prison in Afghanistan

Islamic State group have attacked a central prison in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 21 people. The attack began on Sunday evening when car bombs were detonated at the prison's entrance by gunmen.

It continued through the night and into Monday morning, with the IS militants battling security forces.

Another 43 people have been wounded in the assault, which began late on Sunday when an Isis suicide bomber slammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the prison entrance in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. Militants then opened fire on security forces at the facility, which is about 70 miles (115km) east of Kabul.According to Attaullah Khogyani, 43 people were taken to a regional hospital.

The prison holds more than 1,700 inmates - most of them Taliban and IS fighters, a security source told the AFP news agency. It was not immediately clear if the attack had been staged to free specific prisoners from the complex.

The attack happened on the third and final day of a temporary ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, with hundreds of Taliban prisoners released in an effort to get peace talks moving between the two sides.

Three attackers have been killed so far but the battle has continued into Monday, with sporadic gunfire in the prison grounds, according to Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province. The dead included civilians, prisoners, guards and Afghan security forces, Khogyani said.

Police believe several militants slipped away into a nearby residential complex, making it more difficult to flush them out.

Afghan security and defence personnel in armoured vehicles surrounded the prison, which is half a mile from the governor’s office. Soldiers were still evacuating residents from the area as sporadic gunshots rang out.

The Taliban’s political spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, told the Associated Press that his group was not involved in the Jalalabad attack. The US struck a peace deal with the Taliban in February.

A second, crucial round of negotiations between the Taliban and the political leadership in Kabul has yet to start. But Washington and Nato have begun withdrawing troops in line with the deal.

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

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. However, some prisoners had escaped during the fighting, said another provincial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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