Afghan death toll increases

The number killed in a Taliban attack on an Afghan army base has risen to more than 130, most of them government soldiers.

Fighting lasted for several hours on Friday 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.

Afghan troops keep watch at the base near Mazar-e-Sharif after the attack.

A local source told reporters that the “death toll could rise further”.

At least 10 Taliban militants were killed in the fighting and one attacker was detained.

Disguise
The Taliban fighters wore army uniforms and drove through military checkpoints before launching the raid, a military spokesman said.

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.

Also in March the Taliban said they had captured south Afghan district of Sangin after a year-long battle.

BBC/Sammie