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126 security officers killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

Taliban

More than 100 security forces members have been killed in a Taliban assault on a military base in eastern Afghanistan, the Independent quoted authorities as saying on Monday.


An interior ministry spokesperson said a suicide car bomber struck the base first, followed by insurgents who opened fire at the Afghan forces in Maidan Wardak province.


An official in the defence ministry, speaking anonymously, said the death toll was as high as 126.

 

“We have information that 126 people have been killed in the explosion inside the military training center,” the official said. 

 

The government had previously claimed only 12 soldiers were killed in the attack. 

 

All three gunman who stormed the base after the suicide car bomb died during the firefight, a provincial official said earlier. 

 

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack shortly afterwards. The assault came just one day after a suicide bomber from the Islamist insurgent group targeted the convoy of the governor of Logar province.

 

Seven of the governor's bodyguards were killed in the blast, but the governor escaped unharmed. 

 

Even as the Taliban stepped up its 17-year insurgency against the Afghan government, the group embarked on a fresh round of peace talks with American representatives in Qatar. 

 

"Talks between Taliban leaders and U.S. officials have started today in Qatar," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement

 

The US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has also been visiting regional powers in the Middle East as part of a fresh push to end the long-running Afghan war.

 

Any deal which sees the Taliban abandon their armed campaign would likely see the militants included in a future Afghan government.

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