Clashes are raging at a military base in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif after Taliban insurgents assaulted the facility Friday afternoon, said Afghan officials and insurgents.
Local officials in Mazar-I-Sharif have now confirmed at least 8 security personnel were killed and more than 10 others wounded in the attack in the capital of relatively peaceful Balkh province. They said Afghan forces have ended the siege after killing the attackers, some of whom were in security forces’ uniforms.
Witnesses told VOA the assailants arrived at the military facility on board two Afghan army vehicles. Afghan media quoted witnesses as saying the attack left at least 10 security personnel dead. But several hours after the siege began, Afghan officials have provided little information to reporters.
The Taliban took credit for the violence, saying a group of its fighters with explosives strapped to their bodies staged the coordinated raid.
Local media reported Taliban assailants targeted officers and soldiers of the Afghan National Army as they were leaving a mosque after offering Friday prayers.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the attack began with a suicide car bombing, making way for other assailants to enter the 209 Shaheen Corp military headquarters.
The Afghan military base houses thousands of forces that are regularly engaged in anti-Taliban operations in troubled northern regions of the country.
Ekram Shinwari in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.