Afghan construction company workers targeted by militants in Jalalabad

Afghan construction company workers targeted by militants in Jalalabad
At least 16 Afghan workers have been killed in an attack by militants on their place of work in Jalalabad.
2 min read
06 March, 2019
Afghanistan has been hit by conflict and militancy [Getty]

Workers in the Afghan city of Jalalabad were targeted by militants on Wednesday killing at least 16 people, agencies have reported.

Militants attacked employees and guards at a construction company close to the city's airport using suicide bombers and armed militants.

"Two attackers detonated their vests, and two more were gunned down by security forces," provincial spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

Two militants detonated bomb vests outside the headquarters before three gunmen stormed the workplace killing workers early Wednesday morning.

All five militants involved in the operation were killed by Afghan troops after seven hours of clashes, according to Afghan website Tola News.

The Afghan news site said the militants targeted "EBE" company, which is doing construction work at Jalalabad's airport.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack although the Islamic State group is known to be active around Jalalabad.

The attacks come during a two-day break in negotiations between the Taliban and US in Qatar, which are due to restart on the weekend.

US State Department spokesman Robert Palladin said the talks are on "a daily basis right now and progress is being made".

"These discussions are ongoing and what we're focusing on are the four interconnected issues that are going to compose any future agreement," Palladino said according to AFP.

Among the issues being discussed are "terrorism", "troop withdrawal", "intra-Afghan dialogue" and "ceasefire", according to the US official.

Talks are said to hinge on the US wanting the Taliban to cut ties with foreign jihadi groups and accept the Kabul government, while the Islamist movement wants NATO troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan.

Afghan has suffered decades of conflict. A US-led invasion in 2001 saw the Taliban regime overthrown with the Afghan fighters starting an insurgency against foreign troops and the Afghan government.

Agencies contributed to this story