Death toll from attack on Afghan army base crosses 100

A military official said most of the soldiers killed in the Taliban attack were young recruits.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Afghan national Army (ANA) troops keep watch near the site of an attack on an army headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 21, 2017.

More than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed and wounded in a coordinated Taliban attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan, the country's defence 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".

Two of the attackers blew themselves up and seven were killed in the assault near Mazar-i-Sharif city on Friday which lasted several hours and targeted soldiers at a mosque and dining facility.  The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, officials said.

The government toll of the attack came as a military official who was at the base at the time of the assault said that "150 soldiers were killed and dozens wounded".

"They were young recruits who had come for training," he said on condition of anonymity.

TRT World spoke to Bilal Sarwary for the latest developments from Afghanistan

A US official in Washington on Friday had put the toll at more than 50 killed and wounded.

The facility in Balkh province is home to the Afghan army's 209th Corps. The NATO-led military coalition deploys advisers to the base where the attack occurred to train and assist the Afghan forces but coalition officials said there were no international troops among the victims.

The Western-backed Afghan government is locked in a prolonged war with Taliban insurgents and other militant groups.

The latest deadly assault against an Afghan military site underscores rising insecurity in the war-torn country as it braces for an intense fighting season in the spring.

The last major attack against a military site was in early March when gunmen disguised as doctors stormed the Sardar Daud Khan hospital — the country's largest military hospital — in Kabul, killing dozens.

TRTWorld and agencies