Afghan defense minister, army chief of staff resign over military base attack

But it's not clear whether that alone helped them get in.

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military compound after an attack by gunmen in Mazar-e- Sharif, Afghanistan, Friday, April 21, 2017.

Atiqullah and another soldier, Mohammad Hassan, said they suspect the terrorists might have had contact with people inside the base. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence matters, said it likely took four to six months to plan the attack. He urged the Taliban to pursue dialogue instead of killing people.

Twelve army officers, including two generals, were sacked for negligence over that attack.

Mattis' visit also comes after the USA dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, dubbed the "Mother of All Bombs", on Islamic State hideouts in eastern Nangarhar province, killing almost 100 militants, according to unverified figures from Afghan officials. Many of them were eating dinner or leaving the mosque after Friday prayers, according to Reuters. They have been known to minimize casualties in such attacks in the past. The U.S. has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is in Afghanistan assessing the possibility of sending more troops to the war-torn country.

The insurgents succeeded in cutting off the districts of Darqad and Khuja Bhawedin, Timor said, but the government has sent in reinforcements and launched a counter-attack.

U.S. troops have been fighting a resilient Taliban there for nearly 16 years.

The US has around 8,400 troops while another 5,000 other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops are helping Afghan forces battle the Taliban and Islamic State group.

In February, Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian Federation has been trying to legitimize the Taliban by promoting a false narrative that it is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On April 13, the USA military dropped America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan, killing 94 ISIS fighters. Responsibility for that attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which has emerged and gained a foothold in Afghanistan over the past years. He is the first member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet to visit Afghanistan.

The trip comes after US National Security Advisor General HR McMaster made a visit to Kabul on April 16, just days after a massive bomb was dropped on an Islamic State cave complex in eastern Nangarhar.

"Now, we have a much more reliable Afghan partner and we have reduced considerably the degree and scope of our effort".

  • Leroy Wright