Taliban Bombers Assault Northern Afghan Military Base

Taliban Bombers Assault Northern Afghan Military Base
Clashes are raging at a military base in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif after Taliban insurgents assaulted the facility Friday afternoon, said Afghan officials and insurgents.

Dawlat Waziri, an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, has confirmed to local reporters the death of at least one solider in the attack in the capital of relatively peaceful Balkh province. He said several other soldiers have been wounded and Afghan commando forces are battling the attackers to end the siege.

Witnesses told VOA the assailants arrived at the military facility on board two Afghan army vehicles. Afghan media quoted witnesses as saying the attack left at least 10 security personnel dead. But several hours after the siege began, Afghan officials have provided little information to reporters.

The Taliban took credit for the violence, saying a group of its fighters with explosives strapped to their bodies staged the coordinated raid.

Local media reported Taliban assailants targeted officers and soldiers of the Afghan National Army as they were leaving a mosque after offering Friday prayers.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the attack began with a suicide car bombing, making way for other assailants to enter the 209 Shaheen Corp military headquarters.

The Afghan military base houses thousands of forces that are regularly engaged in anti-Taliban operations in troubled northern regions of the country.

Ekram Shinwari in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.