AT LEAST eight people were killed and 24 others were injured when IS militants stormed the regional offices of Save The Children in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

The UK charity has temporarily suspended its programmes in the country in the wake of the attack which killed two guards and a civilian.

The provincial governor’s spokesman said five attackers – believed to have been dressed as police officers – were involved, all of whom were killed.

After blowing up a car outside the British charity’s compound in Jalalabad yesterday, the attackers then used a rocket-propelled grenade to storm the complex.

Around 45 people inside the building locked themselves in a safe room.

Save the Children said it was closing its offices out of concern for the safety of all its staff.

But it added that it was “committed to resuming our operations and lifesaving work as quickly as possible”.

Islamic State claimed responsibility via the extremists’ Aamaq news agency although no evidence was presented to support the claim.

It said the operation involved a car bomb and three other attacks that targeted British, Swedish, and Afghani government institutions in Jalalabad.

Both Taliban insurgents and IS terrorists are active in the eastern Nangarhar province.

Save the Children said the group was “devastated” at the news of the attack, and confirmed all its programmes across Afghanistan “have been temporarily suspended and our offices are closed”.

“Our primary concern is for the safety and security of our staff,” the charity said.

It went on to say that “Afghanistan is one of the most difficult places in the world to be a child and for humanitarian workers to operate in”, adding that it was committed to continuing its work in the country “as soon as we can be assured that it is safe to do so”.

The UN’s mission in Afghanistan said: “Attacks directed at civilians or aid organisations are clear violations of international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.”

“An explosion rocked the area and right after that children and people started running away,” said Ghulam Nabi, who was nearby when the bomb exploded. “I saw a vehicle catch fire and then a gunfight started.”

Monica Zanarelli, the International Committee of the Red Cross’ head of delegation in Afghanistan, said that an attack against an organisation that helps children is “outrageous”.

She said: “Civilians and aid workers must not be targeted. Increased violence has made operating in Afghanistan difficult for many organisations.”

UK Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt condemned the attack in a departmental tweet.

The attack follows the deadly weekend siege of the Intercontinental Hotel in the capital Kabul in which 22 people were killed, including 14 foreigners.

Several US citizens were killed and injured in the Taliban’s 13-hour siege of the hotel, the US state department said.

Eleven of the 14 foreigners had been previously identified as working for the private Afghan airline KamAir.

During a ceremony at Kabul’s airport on Wednesday, the bodies of seven Ukrainian citizens were handed over to officials for transfer to Ukraine.

Mirwais Samadi, head of the consulate department of the Afghan foreign ministry, said the attack was launched by “terrorists” and their supporters.

In eastern Ghazni province, meanwhile, four Afghan police were killed after their checkpoint came under attack by insurgents, officials said.

Six insurgents were killed and three were wounded in the battle, which took place early yesterday morning in Dayak.