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Afghan defence chiefs resign over attack

BBC News logo BBC News 24/04/2017
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers keep watch at the gate of an army headquarters a day after an attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan 22 April 2017: Soldiers were targeted at an army base in Mazar-e-Sharif © Reuters Soldiers were targeted at an army base in Mazar-e-Sharif

Afghanistan's defence minister and army chief of staff have resigned in the wake of a Taliban attack that left scores of soldiers dead, the presidential palace says.

The attack happened on Friday at an army base near Mazar-e Sharif.

Insurgents targeted troops leaving Friday prayers at the base's mosque and in a canteen, the army said.

It was the Taliban's deadliest attack on the armed forces since it was removed from power in 2001.

The fighters, dressed in Afghan military uniforms and driving military vehicles, made their way into the compound before opening fire, the army said.

At least 10 militants were killed in the fighting and one attacker was detained.

Map © BBC Map

It is not clear exactly how many soldiers died. The Afghan defence ministry has not released firm casualty figures, only saying more than 100 people were killed or injured.

Other officials have told BBC that at least 136 people died, but some sources say the toll is even higher. One eyewitness told the BBC he counted 165 bodies.

The attack has caused widespread anger, with many questioning the government's ability to counter Taliban insurgency.

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