Sec. Def. Mattis Makes Unannounced Trip to Afghanistan

"Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down with immediate effect", the president's office stated in a tweet.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Ghani traveled to the base in Balkh on Saturday from where he strongly condemned the attack, according to a tweet from the official Twitter account of the presidential palace.

On Friday, up to 10 militants dressed in Afghan Army uniforms breached security at the 209th Corps base.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault.

The attack was the deadliest on the security forces since 2001. The U.S. has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the Taliban allegedly detonated a auto bomb in front of a US base in eastern Afghanistan, though the details and number of casualties are not yet known.

The resignations came as US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit Monday.

General Mohammad Radmanesh, a spokesperson of the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said that the militants were allowed on the base without all of the proper checks after pleading for urgent care for a man in their vehicle who was covered in blood.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrived for a surprise visit to Afghanistan Monday as the Trump administration considers boosting US military support for the struggling country.

It remains unclear exactly how many people were killed.

Taliban militants have gained territory this past year, as NPR has reported, and the top USA commander in Afghanistan recently described the fight against the Taliban as a "stalemate".

The death toll is feared to rise, but so far officials have confirmed the death of 140 soldiers, while around 100 more are wounded.

General Nicholson recently told Congress that he needs a few thousand more troops to bolster Afghan security forces until they eventually can handle the fight against Taliban militants on their own.

"I am aware of a auto bomb attack at one of the gates in the USA base, but we are not allowed there to get more details", the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the country is in mourning after a Taliban assault on an army base in northern Afghanistan left at least a hundred casualties.

  • Leroy Wright