Gunmen attacked army base, 100 casualties

At least 50 troops killed in Taliban attack at military base in northern Afghanistan

Gunmen attacked army base, 100 casualties

An Afghan security official stands alert near the site of the Taliban attack.

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.

The defence ministry said Afghan forces had killed all the attackers, without specifying how many there were.

Afghan officials put the death toll in that attack at 50, but security sources and survivors told AFP more than 100 were killed in the brazen and savage assault.

They used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, and several detonated suicide vests packed with explosive, officials said.

Afghan commandos were deployed during the attack which lasted several hours and targeted soldiers as they attended mosque and ate a meal.

The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, claimed responsibility for that assault.

Jan Agah, whose nephews were serving at the base died and another injured in the attack, said "If strict inspections had taken place, the attackers would not have passed the first gate." .

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"The attack on the 209th Corps today shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban", U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of coalition forces, said in a statement on Friday.

The nerve center of Afghan and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat activities in northern Afghanistan is a sprawling military base in Balkh province.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani visited the base yesterday, and in a statement online, condemned the attack as "cowardly" and the work of "infidels".

Another Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly, said more than 20 soldiers had been killed and 50 wounded.

General Mohammad Radmanish, deputy spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said the militants entered the base using two military vehicles and attacked army personnel inside the compound's mosque.

In total, during the attack which lasted for hours, two Taliban fighters blew themselves up, seven died in the fight and Afghan authorities managed to detain one.

"The situation shows that we can not stop supporting, training and advising our Afghan partners", a German Operations Command spokesman said.

"The operation has concluded, we have recovered the five bodies of the enemy, and one has been captured alive, our casualties are eight martyrs and 11 wounded", he said in a final message sent to the media at 6.15 p.m. local time (1345GMT). "The other two started shooting with a heavy machine gun on top of the truck", he said.

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