Taliban attack on army base kills 7 soldiers in northern Afghanistan
A Taliban attack on an army outpost in the northern province of Balkh in Afghanistan on Tuesday morning claimed the lives of 7 Afghan soldiers and injured 6 others.
In a press release, the ministry added that the attack took place at 4.30am in the district of Dawlatabad and targetted a joint military and intelligence base, according Deutsche Welle.
Among the six injured, three were soldiers and three were intelligence agents.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the attack was Taliban-directed, while claiming the total number killed was 20, including a commander. Eyewitnesses believe at least 10 were killed, according to TRT Persian.
The attack comes only a day after Taliban claimed responsibillity for the killing of a US soldier in Kunduz Province, situated north of the country.
The Pentagon identified the soldier as 33-year old Michael J Goble of Washington Township, New Jersey, whose unit has been engaged in combat operations in Kunduz Province, when he suffered fatal injuries.
The Taliban claims it attacked the vehicle Sgt. Goble was in, while the US military have said that the soldier was targetted when a weapons cache he had been investigating exploded.
Read more: Pentagon identifies 20th US soldier killed in Afghanistan this year
Some 20 American troops have been killed in operations in Afghanistan this year– the most to die since combat operations formally ended in 2014.
While the winter has been a time when the so-called "fighting season" slows down, insurgents have in recent years braced harsh and unforgiving weather and stepped up their attacks.
This year, their campaign coincides with crucial peace talks between the militant group and Washington.
A draft peace agreement from September - reached between the two sides after years of negotiations - requires the Taliban commit to security measures, as well as agreeing to talks with the Afghan government.
The Taliban commitment to a reduction of violence will be in exchange for a US troop withdrawal, which US media hold as standing at 4000, based on the plans expected by the Trump administration.
Yet the talks were suspended a fortnight ago, when the Taliban attacked a key US millitary base in Afghanistan, Bagram, in eastern Parwan province.
Two civilians and 70 others were wounded, after a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-packed vehicle outside a hospital in the base, while seven more gunmen, some wearing suicide-vests, entered the building.
The Taliban hold sway over half of Afghanistan, while continuing to stage attacks on Afghan and US forces, as well as government officials, on a near daily basis.
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