Miércoles, 22 May, 2019

Afghan officials: 100 casualties in Afghanistan attack

Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 03:07

An injured soldier recovers in a hospital after Friday's attack at a military compound in Mazar-e-Sharif province north of Kabul. Two carried out suicide attacks and eight other attackers were killed in the battle, Waziri said. "Some reports say more than 60 were killed and over 50 wounded, some put the toll much higher".

The attack starkly highlighted the struggle by the Afghan government and its worldwide backers to defeat a Taliban insurgency that has gripped Afghanistan for more than a decade.

President Ghani flew to the area on Saturday and visited wounded troops.

In a statement online, he condemned the attack as "cowardly" and the work of "infidels".

As many 140 Afghan soldiers were killed on Friday, April 21 by Taliban attackers apparently disguised in military uniforms in what would be the deadliest attack ever on an Afghan military base, officials said, according to Reuters.

The attack comes just days after former president Hamid Karzai spoke out in support of the Taliban and said "the Taliban is a major reality in today's Afghanistan".

Witnesses described a scene of confusion as soldiers were uncertain who the attackers were.

"Three months ago I sent my son to the army, I have not seen him since then", one father told AFP news agency. "There was gunfire and explosions everywhere".

The Mazar-e Sharif base is home to the Afghan National Army's 209 Corps, whose primary function is to provide security in the country's northern region.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and shared photos of the 10 men dressed completely in Afghan military uniforms.

According to U.S. watchdog SIGAR, casualties among Afghan security forces soared by 35 percent in 2016, with 6,800 soldiers and police killed.

Afghan relatives looks on as an ambulance carrying the bodies of Afghan National army (ANA) soldiers killed in a Taliban attack arrive in the Dihdadi district of Balkh province on April 22, 2017. It was not clear if they had joined the army as Taliban infiltrators or were soldiers who had defected.

The Afghan army did not confirm that.

However, the 209th Shaheen Corps later said 11 army personnel lost their lives and around 15 others sustained injuries, rejecting the reports given by the officials regarding the massive casualties inflicted to the security forces.

"They sheltered in place during the incident".

"Terrorist groups, in recent weeks, had no place to rest, from Achin [eastern district where the USA dropped the biggest ever non-nuclear bomb on Daesh terrorists] to Baghlan [where Taliban's shadow governor was killed in this northern province], the militants have been the target of security and defense forces".

Afghan security forces, beset by killings and desertions, have been struggling to beat back insurgents since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.