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Taliban Goal Key Afghan Base on Eve of Peace Talks

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide bombers penetrated a key authorities navy base in southern Afghanistan on Friday, in a significant assault that inflicted heavy casualties on the eve of the most recent spherical of Afghan peace talks, native authorities stated.

The early-morning assault got here as American and Taliban negotiators ready to renew peace talks in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday after a two-day break.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Protection reported at the least 23 members of the Afghan safety forces had been killed and 16 had been wounded throughout an hourslong siege of Camp Shorab navy compound in Helmand Province. Eight suicide bombers and quite a few different attackers had been concerned, it stated.

Mirza Hussain Alizada, a member of the Helmand provincial council, put the loss of life toll greater, saying as much as 40 Afghan troopers had been killed.

“It was a merciless assault,” Mr. Alizada stated.

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By dusk, Afghan forces had killed many of the attackers on the base, native officers stated late Friday, however a battle continued towards others nonetheless inside it. Mr. Alizada stated as much as 30 Taliban attackers, some carrying navy uniforms, stormed the bottom.

Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the Helmand governor, provided a barely totally different account. He stated late Friday that the battle had ended and all 20 Taliban militants had been killed. He detailed how a number of militants detonated explosive vests, breaching the defenses as different Taliban rushed inside.

Bashir Ahmad Shakir, one other member of the provincial council, stated the attackers break up up as soon as inside the bottom, making it tough for the navy to find them. The Afghan garrison commander was killed, he stated.

“The assault introduced disaster to the corps,” Mr. Shakir stated, referring to the Afghan Nationwide Military’s 215th Corps stationed at Camp Shorab.

The positioning was as soon as a significant base for United States forces in Afghanistan, and an adjoining a part of the compound nonetheless homes American troops. Col. Dave Butler, an American navy spokesman in Kabul, stated on Twitter that there have been no American casualties.

United States Marines who prepare Afghan safety forces preserve a small, fortified compound throughout the base, and American Particular Forces troopers who prepare Afghan commandos are additionally deployed in one other small compound throughout the base.

The Marines retrieved advisers from the bottom’s Afghan navy operations heart, a Protection Division official in Washington stated.

Unhealthy climate meant American air help was restricted, however Marine Corps guard towers returned hearth on the attacking Taliban, and American Particular Forces helped retake elements of the bottom, in accordance with Protection Division officers.

Colonel Butler, the American spokesman, wrote in a separate tweet that authorities forces had repulsed the assault and stated a Taliban declare that the assault killed American troops amounted to “extra lies” from the group.

“Who do the Taliban combat for?” Colonel Butler wrote. “Cease preventing your personal countrymen and get critical about peace.”

In an announcement late Friday evening, the American navy command stated the adjoining American base had its personal safety perimeter, “which by no means got here beneath critical menace.” The assertion added that the Afghan flag nonetheless flew over Camp Shorab and that every one Taliban attackers had been lifeless.

Identified then as Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, the compound served as a base in southern Afghanistan for American-led coalition forces earlier than President Barack Obama withdrew most fight troops from the nation in 2014. With the battle now in its 18th yr, some 14,000 American troops stay.

Since peace negotiations with the Taliban started final fall, preventing has intensified, as each side search leverage on the talks.

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