Top Afghan Defense Officials Resign After Attack Kills More Than 100 Troops

04 May, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Essie Rivera

The exact toll from Friday's assault in the northern province of Balkh remains unclear, with some local officials putting the number of dead as high as 130.

The Afghan army chief and the country's defense minister have resigned over Friday's deadly assault on one of the army's headquarters that led to the death of around 150 soldiers.

As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, managed to penetrate the base in order to conduct the attack.

The Trump administration is considering whether to make changes to the U.S. mission training and advising Afghan forces, and conducting raids against militant groups including ISIL.

The US has around 8,400 troops in the country with about another 5,000 from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies assisting a much larger Afghan force in the war against the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

Civil society and politicians are increasingly criticizing the government and the security leadership for their failure in preventing the attack.

"We're going to keep going until they're defeated in 2017", said Nicholson.

The defence ministry gave a figure of at least 100 soldiers killed or wounded.

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"We will make sure that whoever is responsible for this attack will face our wrath; they [attackers/Taliban] need to get ready now".

National security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster recently visited Afghanistan as Washington considers a full "strategy review." of policy toward that country.

Ghani traveled to the base in Balkh on Saturday from where he strongly condemned the attack, according to a tweet from the official Twitter account of the presidential palace.

American military officials said on Monday that they had intelligence that showed that the Haqqani network, a wing of the Taliban based in Pakistan, was behind the attack.

Mattis, who last visited Afghanistan in 2013 when he was a Marine general and leader of Centcom, is winding up his six nation trip through the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

On Sunday, the movement released the names of the attackers on the army base.

The attack comes just days after a group of U.S. Marines deployed to Afghanistan's tumultuous Helmand Province for the first time since the end of America's combat mission in 2014.

According to U.S. data, between January and November a year ago, at least 6,785 members of the Afghan security forces were killed and 11,777 injured.

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