An official told TOLOnews on Saturday morning that at least 135 soldiers were killed in Friday afternoon’s attack on the Afghan National Army’s 209 Shaheen Corps Headquarters in Balkh province.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity as government has not officially released figures, said at least 60 soldiers were also wounded in the attack. He said some were in critical condition.
However, the ministry of defense and government last confirmed the actual death toll at 11 but the MoD issued a statement Saturday morning that said “about 100 have been killed and wounded.”
Reuters however reported that at least 140 soldiers had been killed. They quoted a senior local official, who had also spoken on condition of anonymity. Reuters also reported that other officials said the toll was likely to be even higher.
Soon after the four-hour long siege ended, government said 11 had been killed but a spokesman for the U.S’s Central Command Colonel John Thomas, told Reuters “we’re talking probably more than 50 casualties.”
“There is a mosque and a dining facility on the base that seemed to, at this point from our reports, be the subject of a significant attack from enemy forces,” he was quoted as saying.
The attack happened at about 1.30pm on Friday at a mosque on the base. Insurgents in army vehicles and reportedly wearing military uniforms penetrated multiple layers of security before launching their attack.
Injured soldiers being treated at the Mazar-e-Sharif hospital said that security at the base was extremely strict and that soldiers were never allowed onto base without ID cards.
One wounded soldier, Hussain, said he felt the insurgents must have had inside help in order to get onto the base.