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Blast reported near Save the Children aid group office in Afghanistan

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Afghan security personnel are seen at the roof of Intercontinental Hotel after an attack in Kabul Afghanistan 21 January 2018

The attack started with a suicide bomber and was followed by gunfire, said Khogyani. The security forces are clearing the building now. "We are awaiting further information from our team and can not comment further at this time".

Images from the scene showed a massive military presence. "Attackers entered the compound and the fight is going on". "I jumped out of the window", Amin said.

Local TV footage showed a huge plume of thick black smoke rising from the compound and at least one vehicle on fire.

Another witness said: "It might be a complex attack".

At least 22 people - 14 of whom were foreign nationals - were killed during an hours-long standoff at the hotel, which sits on the edge of town behind checkpoints on a hill.

The incident comes just days after assailants stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital of Kabul.

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There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Sohrab Qaderi a provincial council member for Ningarhar, said Afghan special forces were battling two or three attackers armed with hand-grenades, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

No casualties have been reported, according to Afghanistan's 1TVNews network. "Any attack on children & humanitarians is a crime against humanity".

The attack underlines how hard operating in Afghanistan has become for humanitarian aid organisations which have faced heavy pressure from armed groups and kidnappers.

But Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan, is often targeted by Taliban militants and is a stronghold for Islamic State, with fighters active there since 2015.

Backed by intensive US air strikes, Afghan forces have claimed growing success against the Taliban and other militant groups, including Islamic State, but militant attacks on civilian targets have continued, causing heavy casualties.

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