Taliban Attack Another Afghan Army Base, Killing Dozens

The coffins of police officers killed in a Taliban attack on a military outpost in Baghlan Province, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents overran an Afghan Army base and a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 39 soldiers and police officers, officials said, and a suicide bomber in the capital killed at least 48 people in a classroom.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters carried out the predawn attacks on two units of Afghan forces in the Baghlan-e-Markazi District of Baghlan Province, according to a police official who was at the scene and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

The official said the fighting lasted five hours, and resulted in the deaths of 30 soldiers and nine local police officers. Two other soldiers were also wounded in the battle, he said.

It was the second major attack on an army base in northern Afghanistan in recent days; on Monday, the Taliban killed or captured an entire company of 106 soldiers in the Ghormach District of Faryab Province in the north of the country.

Separately on Wednesday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his vest inside a classroom at a university preparatory course in Kabul, the capital, according to Hashmat Stanikzai, the spokesman for Kabul Police Department.

Wahidullah Majrooh, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said that at least 48 people had died in the attack, and that 67 others had beenwounded. The attack took place in a Shiite neighborhood in western Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the suicide bombing, but schools, mosques and a voter registration center in the same neighborhood have been bombed by the Islamic State. Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a WhatsApp message that his group had not been involved in the Kabul attack.

President Ashraf Ghani declared on Wednesday that the battle for Ghazni city in eastern Afghanistan, which has been besieged by Taliban insurgents since Friday, was nearly over, with Afghan forces controlling all but one neighborhood.

“The telephone networks were reactivated today, most of the bodies were evacuated from the city, and I have ordered the urgent supply of medicine and food,” he said in a speech in Kabul.

Ghazni residents said that fighting was continuing. With cellphone service spotty and travel dangerous, however, little reliable information was emerging from the city.

Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that an estimated 100 security officers and 40 to 50 civilians had been killed in the Ghazni fighting, along with hundreds of insurgents. He said the Taliban had deliberately destroyed buildings and markets, inflicting huge economic damage on the city.

In the Baghlan Province attack in northern Afghanistan, Ferozuddin Aimaq, a provincial councilman, confirmed a major defeat at the Afghan Army base, which is in the village of Allauddin. He put the number of dead at 45 soldiers and eight police officers.

“The army base is covered with bodies of soldiers and officers,” he said, adding that all weapons, vehicles and equipment at the base had been seized by the Taliban.

Mahbubullah Ghafari, another councilman from Baghlan Province, said that the insurgents had killed everyone at the base and a nearby police checkpoint, and that they had also burned down the base.

“Only two army members survived, who we believe were insurgent infiltrators,” he added.

The Defense Ministry confirmed the attack on the base in Baghlan, according to a spokesman, Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed. He said he did not know the number of casualties or how many people had been at the base.

In the attack in Faryab on Monday, at a base called Chinese Camp, an army company lost half of its soldiers; 21 died and 33 others were wounded. In addition, 15 border police officers were killed. The rest of the unit surrendered to the Taliban on Monday, according to a lieutenant who escaped, as well as Afghan officials.

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