More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or wounded in a Taliban attack on an army base on Friday, the defence ministry has confirmed, BBC reports.
Fighting lasted for several hours near the city of Mazar-e Sharif in northern Balkh province. Insurgents targeted those leaving Friday prayers at the base’s mosque and others in a canteen, the army said.
The Taliban said in a statement they had carried out the attack, using suicide bombers to breach defences. Earlier estimates put the death toll as high as 134, but a statement from the d Add Mediaefence ministry on Saturday gave a figure of about 100 killed or injured.
US military spokesman John Thomas described the attack as a “significant” strike, but he praised the Afghan commandos for bringing the “atrocity to an end”. The base at Mazar-e-Sharif is home to the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps, responsible for providing security to most of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz province – which has seen heavy recent fighting.
Several German and other foreign soldiers are reported to be garrisoned there. Last month about 50 people were reported to have died when militants believed to be from the group known as Islamic State targeted patients and staff at a military hospital in Kabul with guns, grenades and knives.