Dozens of Afghanistan security forces are killed as Taliban attacks training center
At least 65 people were killed in an apparent attack that was orchestrated by the Taliban in central Afghanistan. Earlier reports claimed that the death toll was as many as 128.
The attack also left more than 70 injured.
A senior official in the Defence Ministry confirmed the number of fatalities to AFP. The deadly attack took place in Maidan Wardak province, west of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Local sources said the attackers packed a military vehicle with explosives and drove into the training centre of the National Directorate for Security.
Soon after the roaring explosion, two gunmen stormed into the compound before they were shot down by security forces, eyewitnesses said.
Though Afghanistan’s government has not confirmed anything officially, local sources claimed scores of troops and personnel were also killed.
Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban’s spokesman claimed the responsibility for the killer attack, according to a report ran by Reuters.
The insurgent group has been fighting to drive out international forces from the country since the US-led war that began on October 7, 2001. The aim of the US-led operation was then declared bring to an end Al Qaeda and its militant leaders, and also to defuse militants as well as end the 15-year-long Taliban rule.
The attack on a highly secured military base undermined the efforts to sign a de-escalation and peace agreement between the Afghanistan government and jihadist Taliban.
Taliban representatives met Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afganistan, in Qatar for peace talks, on the same day as the attack.
Sharif Hotak, a provincial council member in central Afghanistan city, claimed the government hides the real number of casualties to prevent further dips in morale and motivation of local forces.
“I saw the bodies of thirty-five members of the Afghan forces in hospital. Many more were killed,” he said.
Monday’s attack has been the biggest casualty in the number of Afghan forces being killed since August 2018, when 150 security forces and 95 civilians dead, according to official numbers.
At the time, President Ashraf Ghani’s office labelled attackers as “the enemies of the country.”
He announced last year that 28 000 Afghan security officers were killed between 2015 and 2018.