More Than 100 Dead Or Injured After Taliban Attacks Afghan Base

The militants were disguised as soldiers and attacked the base for hours

Coffins containing the bodies of Afghan Army soldiers killed in April 21's attack. — REUTERS
Apr 22, 2017 at 5:05 PM ET

Militants dressed as Afghan Army soldiers killed as many as 140 soldiers and officers in a raid on a military base in northern Afghanistan. Scores more were injured in the attack.

The attack was claimed by the Taliban. Ten fighters with the group attacked unarmed soldiers at a military base near Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, for several hours after Friday prayers. It was the deadliest attack on a military base in a 16-year conflict.

“There were about 10 fighters. One of them detonated his explosives, and another went ahead. That’s when the firefight erupted,” Ghulam Hazrat, a witness, told Al Jazeera English. “There were two checkpoints but the fighters managed to go through that, as well. It was chaotic and I saw more than 60 people dead on the spot.”

Five attackers were killed by the incident’s end, according to CNN, and one of the militants was arrested.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared Sunday would be a national day of mourning for the soldiers killed. He met with senior security officials Saturday, and in a statement, called the attack the “cowardly” work of “infidels,” according to Reuters.

The death toll is thought to be even higher than the estimated 140. Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, told CNN a more precise tally of the casualties from the attack would be released later.