Dozens Feared Dead as Taliban Fighters Attack Afghan Army Base in Balkh

(Last Updated On: April 22, 2017 9:50 am)

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Dozens of Afghan national army personnel were killed or wounded on Friday afternoon when Taliban gunmen disguised in the army uniform attacked the 209 Shaheen Corps in Balkh province, sources said.

Afghan officials have provided conflicting numbers of casualties in the incident.

So far the Afghan defense ministry has confirmed the dead of eight soldiers and 11 others as wounded.

According to the reports the attack was launched near a mosque on the army base in Mazar-i-Sharif as soldiers were leaving Friday prayers.

Attackers in the two military vehicles have told guards at the gate that they were carrying wounded soldiers and urgently needed to enter.

After performing two suicide attacks, the rest of the attackers have launched a coordinated attack and fought with the Afghan security forces for more than five hours.

Gen. Dawlat Waziri, the Afghan defense ministry spokesperson confirmed that there were 10 attackers, seven of them were shot dead, two of them carried out suicide bombings and one was arrested alive.

Waziri also admits causalities to the Afghan forces, but so far has denied to provide the exact number of causalities sustained by Afghan national security forces.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, the NATO command in Kabul condemned the attack and called it “murderous and reprehensible”.

“The attack on the 209th Corps today shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban. They killed soldiers at prayer in a mosque and others in a dining facility,” U.S. commander John Nicholson said in the statement.

The base is the headquarters for the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps, responsible for much of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz province where there has been heavy fighting.

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