Troops Slaughtered By Taliban In Worst Defeat Of The Entire Afghan War
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 24, 2017,
Apr 24, 2017, 6:40
The extremist fighters barged into an army camp on Friday, April 21, and killed scores of soldiers in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, in one of the deadliest attacks of its kind on a military base in the country.
The updated number of specific soldiers killed or wounded in the attack Friday was not immediately clear. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said the attack was a retribution for the killings of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan, according to reports.
General John Nicholson, Commander of NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement that the attack "shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban".
The latest deadly attack against an Afghan military site underscores rising insecurity in the war-torn country, as it braces for an intense fighting season in the spring.
Defense Ministry spokesman Daulat Waziri said on April 22 that the victims were nearly all members of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army.
The attack started early on Friday afternoon when the two trucks approached the base's gate, claiming to have wounded soldiers in need of urgent medical care.
He said mistrust between the soldiers and their commanders had made many more vulnerable to Taliban infiltration and recruitment.
President Ashraf Ghani has travelled to the base and strongly condemned the attack, according to an official tweet from the presidential palace. "And then they entered the mosque and dining room, killing everyone indiscriminately", Mohammad Hussain, an army officer wounded in the attack, said. They all questioned the security measures in place at the main entrance.
The massive attack is a setback for the Afghan government and its coalition allies faced with a persistent Taliban insurgency and the presence of ISIS and other terrorist groups. The sources are officials who requested anonymity so as not to interfere with the Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Interior, which are responsible for reporting official tolls.
The group of 10 Taliban members - including suicide bombers - launched the surprise attack on Friday, which is prayer day in Afghanistan and other Muslim nations. The U.S. military has increased its campaign of airstrikes in northern and eastern Afghanistan in recent months targeting the Taliban and followers of Islamic State, the militant organization based in Iraq and Syria.
The Taliban is not the only worry for locals in Afghanistan's north: Locals and officials claim that fighters from IS and other foreign terrorist groups are becoming more active.
Flags flew at half-mast throughout the country and special prayers were said for the dead. Afghan troops and war pilots have been repeatedly deployed there from the assaulted base.
Separately, the USA military command in Afghanistan said that Taliban commander Quari Tayib had been killed in a coalition air strike.