AT News Report-KABUL: At least 138 soldiers were killed in Friday afternoon’s attack on the Afghan National Army’s 209th Shaheen Corps Headquarters in northern Balkh province, a well-placed source within the Corps told Afghanistan Times at condition of anonymity.
He added that 64 others were received deep injuries in a terrorist attack conducted by the Taliban insurgents. “The attack took place while soldiers were offering Friday prayers in a mosque,” he said.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Dawlat Waziri in a statement said that more than 100 Afghan army were killed and wounded in the attack. However, the he did not provide further information to the matter.
There is difference in releasing casualty figures among media family. Some reported 135 killed, while some 130, and other 140 to 160 that makes it the single deadliest known attack on an Afghan military base in the course of the long war.
More bodies were recovered this (Saturday) morning, taking the overnight tool from 70 to 130, an official told Pajhwok Afghan News on condition of anonymity.
The attackers clad in military uniforms, including a suicide bomber, came in two Ranger pick-ups and stormed the military facility in northern zone of the country, Defense Ministry spokesman added.
Qahar Aram, Shaheen Military Corps Spokesman, told Pajhwk Afghan News that one of the attack assailants detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the entrance to the base before firing at the soldiers who were offering prayers in a mosque.
Responding to the situation, President Ashraf Ghani accompanied by military officials has visited Corps Headquarters to assess the situation closely and show solidarity with the soldiers. The President condemned the terrorist attack on military base in strongest possible terms.
Moreover, the National Unity Government announced one day national mourning today (Sunday) for the killing to dozens of Army soldiers in Balkh.
Furthermore, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah condemned this coward attack on military base in strongest possible terms. He added that attacking on holy places is forbidden in every belief, what Taliban did in Mazar-e-Sharif was against all values.
Extending solidarity through a message on his twitter account, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the terrorist attack on military base in Balkh province and offered condolence and prayers to the families who lost their loved ones.
Afghan National Army’s 209th Shaheen Corps Headquarters in Balkh province is one of the largest army corps in the country and covers the Northern provinces.
The camp is situated about 13kms outside of Mazar-e-Sharif city and is in the Dehdadi district in the western part of the province.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was carried out by the group’s fighters. He claimed around 500 soldiers and officers were killed and wounded in the attack.