Small Wars Journal

Taliban Fighters Infiltrate Afghan Army Base, Kill More Than 100

Sat, 04/22/2017 - 4:38am

Taliban Fighters Infiltrate Afghan Army Base, Kill More Than 100 by Ehsanullah Amiri and Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal

Taliban fighters entered the Afghan army’s regional headquarters for the north hidden in military vehicles on Friday and went on a shooting spree that killed more than 100 people, Afghan and U.S. officials said Saturday, in the latest sign of an emboldened insurgency that threatens the central government.

The attack involved at least eight Taliban militants who caught the soldiers off-guard during Friday prayers, when many were unarmed in a mosque on the base or having lunch at a nearby dining facility.

“Attackers blew up a military vehicle full of explosives at first security check post of the compound,” an Afghan military official said. “After that, they got into the compound in a second military vehicle.”

The operation to clear the attackers from the army’s northern headquarters in Balkh province, one of the more peaceful parts of the country, took several hours, as Afghan special forces drove out attackers holed up in buildings on the base.

“The Afghan commandos came and saved the day,” a coalition official said on condition of anonymity, adding that 130 soldiers had been killed in the attack. “Truth has to always be told out of respect to those lost.”

The Afghan army denied figures provided by the coalition, saying fewer than a dozen had been killed, while provincial officials accused the army of trying to cover-up the scale of the incident…

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