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Taliban storm Afghan military base, kill 43 soldiers

This file image shows Afghan security personnel inspecting the site of a bomb attack near the main police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, in Afghanistan, on August 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Taliban militants have attacked a military base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 43 soldiers.

According to a statement released by the country’s Defense Ministry, the attack was carried out on a security forces facility in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district in Kandahar Province early in the morning on Thursday and was claimed by the Taliban militant group later in the day.

“We think the militants used an explosive-packed Humvee vehicle to detonate the gate of the base and we are looking to see if there was more than one,” said Dawlat Waziri, a ministry spokesman, adding that the massive blast further wounded nine soldiers.

He said six of the 60 soldiers who had been at the base were still unaccounted for. Only two soldiers were unharmed.

An unnamed military source told the Afghan Tolo News television channel that after the initial explosion, “other insurgents opened fire on security forces.”

According to the source, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, while the two sides were exchanging heavy fire, “foreign troops carried out an airstrike” against invading Taliban militants, killing at least 10 of them.

Waziri confirmed the death of the 10 Taliban militants, adding that the ministry had already dispatched a delegation to “assess the situation.”

He further said that the base was under the Afghan National Army (ANA)’s control.

NATO soldiers keep watch near the wreckage of their vehicle at the site of a Taliban attack in Kandahar on September 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

On Tuesday, the militant outfit carried out two separate attacks in Afghanistan.

The first targeted a police training center in Gardez, the capital of Paktia Province in southeast Afghanistan, and the other was carried out against a police station and a checkpoint in the center of Andar District, in the southern Ghazni Province.

The coordinated attacks together killed at least 80 people and inflicted injuries on nearly 300 others, in the bloodiest day in the war-ravaged country in almost five months.

Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The invasion removed a Taliban regime from power, but militancy continues to this day.

The Takfiri Daesh terror group has also recently emerged in eastern Afghanistan.

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