Taliban Claims Bombing of Afghan Military Center, Gives Much Higher Death Toll Than Kabul

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The Taliban has claimed responsibility for killing or wounding “dozens of members belonging to the enemy forces,” but the Afghan government has reported only a single injury in the Sunday attack on its military post.

Taliban and Afghan government officials confirmed that a bombing occurred at a military center which housed at least 150 members of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Afghan National Army forces, according to Reuters

“Dozens of members belonging to the enemy forces have been killed and wounded in the attack,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmedi said in a statement obtained by the outlet on Monday. Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, however, reported that only a single member of the army was injured in the bombing. 

An intelligence officer who survived the center’s bombing and spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said that he pulled at least 18 bodies from the rubble on Sunday night. 

The Sunday attack came hours after Sputnik was informed by a spokesman for the government of Afghanistan’s Paktia Province that the Taliban had killed three Afghan soldiers and injured another five troops during an overnight gunfight. 

“Last night, insurgents fought for several hours at Afghan checkpoints in the Loari area of ​​Chamkani district and Muqbalo area of ​​Patan district and killed three soldiers and injured five others,” spokesman Abdullah Hasrat said, noting that Afghan forces killed eight Taliban militants and wounded another five insurgents. 

Reuters noted more casualties were reported from police in southeastern Paktika Province, who said that at least 20 individuals were injured on Sunday evening after Taliban fighters launched a hand grenade into a Khayerkot district mosque.  

While the US signed an agreement with the Taliban to end their nearly 19-year conflict back in February, the Taliban’s attacks on the Afghan government’s forces have not decreased as Washington had envisioned. More than 4,500 attacks have occurred since the pact’s signing, most of them in provinces reporting high numbers of COVID-19 novel coronavirus cases. 

Furthermore, the agreement has allowed for the release of 1,500 Taliban members from prison in Kabul. According to Afghan National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal, at least 100 had been released as of Saturday, and some “950 other prisoners will be released” so the government can focus more of its efforts on the novel coronavirus. However, this remains far less than the 5,000 released prisoners Washington’s negotiators promised the Taliban would occur.

Afghanistan has reported 2,894 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 90 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 397 recoveries from the novel coronavirus have been documented in the country. 

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