At least 27 security personnel died when a military base was stormed in Afghanistan one of the biggest attacks since a violence reduction agreement was signed between the US and the Taliban last month.
The Afghan government blamed the attack on the Taliban, with who the US signed a peace deal for an eventual withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for reduced violence by the militant group.
As part of the agreement, the Taliban was supposed to begin talks with a delegation of Afghan leaders for sustained peace – but the process never started after disagreement on the release of prisoners.
Armed Taliban fighters stormed a joint military base of the Afghan National Defence Forces in the southern province Zabul according to provincial council member , Haji Atta Jan Haqbayan.
The clash continued for hours, leaving 27 Afghan forces members dead, Haqbayan said, adding Taliban fighters left with captured weapons and ammunition.
“The attack happened with the help of infiltrators,” a spokesman for the Zabul provincial governor said.
The Afghan defence ministry said infiltrators in the Afghan forces helped carry out the attack, adding the incident was being investigated.
The defence ministry put the death toll at 17.
Government earlier said it was ordering forces to an “active defence posture” as Taliban attacks continued.
“This heinous act of the Taliban is a clear example of their commitment to continued violence against the Afghan peace process,” Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan president, said on Twitter.