United States officials have said that more than 50 people are likely to have died in a Taliban attack on a military base in Afghanistan on Friday, reports said. The Army base is in near Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan. Officials said the number of casualties could be high, according to The New York Times. However, the number remains unconfirmed, with some reports saying only eight people had died.
Spokesperson for the 209th Corps Lt Colonel Abdul Qahar Aram told the English daily that a mosque and a dining room were both targeted at around 1.30 pm local time on Friday. Many soldiers were unarmed and finishing Friday prayers at the time. Aram added that the attackers were in military uniform and had used Army Ranger trucks.
Defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP that Afghan forces killed five militants after the attack and that there were no civilian casualties. He added that one attacker who was wearing a bomb vest was killed before he could detonate it. The interior ministry was quoted as saying, “The attackers were heavily armed with suicide vests and automatic weapons, trying to cause as much damage as they can,” by Al Jazeera.