"Shortage of coffins" as casualties on rise post Taliban attack on Afghan Army

| Updated: Apr 23, 2017 19:06 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], Apr 23 (ANI): As officials fear that the death toll of Friday's Taliban attack at the Afghan security forces in Balkh Province may increase, Ibrahim Khairandish, a member of the provincial council of the province, describing the horror stated that there was even a "shortage of coffins". The militants were able to penetrate inside northern Afghanistan's largest military installation dressed like the Afghan Army soldiers returning from the front lines, carrying the bodies of wounded comrades. Dressed in military uniforms, a squad of 10 Taliban militants drove in two army Ford Ranger trucks past seven checkpoints and launched a coordinated attack as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed soldiers were emerging from Friday prayers and preparing for lunch, reports the New York Times. For the next five hours, the militants went on a rampage, killing at least 140 soldiers and officers in what is emerging as the single deadliest known attack on an Afghan military base in the country's 16-year war. Over the last two years, Taliban fighters have gained more territory in the countryside and now threaten several cities. Afghanistan's forces, suffering enormous casualties and grappling with a leadership marred by indecision and corruption, have struggled to put up a defense. More than 6,700 members of the Afghan security forces lost their lives in 2016, a record high. Especially remarkable about the Friday attack was its location. The assailants struck on the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif, one of the safer cities in Afghanistan. How such a small number of assailants could inflict such staggering carnage - and in such a highly secure area - only compounded the trauma and anxiety over what could come. (ANI)