Afghan defence chiefs resign over deadly Taliban attack

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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.

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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