More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, the country’s defense ministry said Saturday.
“The majority of our soldiers were offering Friday prayers” at the time of the assault, the ministry said in a statement, adding that “over 100 Afghan army forces were martyred and wounded”.
Vetnaam Shinwari, secretary to the military corps commander, Shinwari declared the attack as over, adding that one of the around ten attackers had been captured alive. The rest were killed.
This is the second such attack on a secure facility in recent months. The first, by ISIS militants, took place on a military hospital in Kabul, killing 49 people and injuring 76 others in early March.
Afghan defense ministry spokesman General Dawlat Waziri said gunmen wearing Afghan army uniforms had launched the assault on the army compound on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of Balkh province.
“In total, there were 10 attackers involved in the attack on the Afghan army corps. Seven of them were killed, two blew themselves up, and one was detained by Afghan forces,” Waziri told AFP.
The attack began at around 2 pm and was over by early evening, he said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attackers had set off an explosion, allowing suicide bombers with small arms to breach the base’s defenses.
“Our fighters have inflicted heavy casualties on the Afghan army stationed there,” he said.
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.
The NATO command in Kabul called the attack “murderous and reprehensible”.