Dressed in army uniforms, at least 10 Taliban attackers had breached the military headquarters in Mazar-i-Sharif, eventually killing more than 140 soldiers, according to the latest estimates by officials. Anonymous officials though say at least 140 were killed and some fear the death toll could be higher than 200.
The attack was condemned by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah among others.
Coalition troops were told to “shelter in place” during a deadly six-hour attack on an Afghan Army base in northern Afghanistan on Friday, as fewer than a dozen Taliban militants massacred almost 200 troops.
From January 1 through November 12 previous year, 6,785 Afghan national security forces were killed, according to the latest quarterly report of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
The Taliban shortly claimed he attack.
Ghani released a statement online condemning the deadly attack and calling it “cowardly”, and the work of “infidels”.
The Prime Minister said the terrorism is a common enemy and a threat to peace in the region. “Otherwise, how can someone attack a large military base with such heavy security?” “They killed a lot of my friends, I jumped out of a window to survive”, he said. Another Balkh official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said 137 soldiers had been killed.
Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, deputy spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said the militants entered the base in Balkh province using two military vehicles and attacked army personnel inside the compound’s mosque.
The Nato-led military coalition deploys advisers to the base where the attack occurred to train and assist Afghan forces but coalition officials said no foreign troops were hurt or killed.
“More then 135 are killed and many more wounded”, he said. “This was against all human and Islamic values”, he said.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared Sunday would be a national day of mourning for the soldiers killed.
The NATO Resolute Support Mission also condemned the attack, calling it reprehensible.
General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, praised Afghan commandos for bringing the “atrocity to an end”.
“We reaffirm our continued commitment to work closely with the Afghan government and the global community in the fight against the scourge of terrorism”.
The agency’s analysis of information from USA forces in Afghanistan “suggests that the security situation in Afghanistan has not improved this quarter”.
The attack came just two days after Defence Minister Abdullah Habibi visited the base during a trip to Balkh.
This is the second such attack on a secure facility in recent months. It also came five months after a suicide bomber managed to enter the main USA military base at Bagram, near Kabul, killing four people.