KUNDUZ: Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces in the country’s north have caused “heavy casualties”, officials said Thursday, putting the number of soldiers killed as high as 40 in ongoing fighting, reports AFP.
Militants using night-vision goggles launched simultaneous raids on several Afghan military bases and posts in Dashte Archi district in Kunduz province overnight, defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish and other Afghan security sources told AFP.“We have suffered casualties, the Taliban have also suffered casualties,” Radmanish said. Between 10 and 15 Afghan soldiers had been killed so far, and about the same number wounded, he added.
But an Afghan security source told AFP that the death toll among security forces was “more than 40”, and another confirmed that 39 had been killed and 10 wounded.
A separate security source said there had been “heavy casualties” among the soldiers. An air and ground operation against the Taliban was under way, Radmanish said.
But on Thursday afternoon an army base on the border between Kunduz and Takhar provinces, where 29 security forces had been killed and 17 others wounded, was still under Taliban control, Takhar governor spokesman Sunatullah Timor said.
“No reinforcements have come to the area yet,” he told AFP. The Taliban claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attacks, confirming their fighters had captured an army base as well as 11 posts, and killed 65 soldiers and “many local police”.
The night-vision goggles used in the latest attacks helped the Taliban fighters execute their pre-dawn raid, a senior Afghan commander told AFP. He said the attacks were carried out by the group’s elite Red Unit.“Since we don’t have the night-vision (goggles), the Taliban can get close to soldiers without them noticing,” he said.
Taliban have stolen armoured Humvees, weapons and other equipment—including night-vision goggles—in previous raids on Afghan security forces, helping them to carry out devastating attacks.