Russian Federation may be aiding Taliban, US general in Afghanistan says

Cheryl Sanders
May 4, 2017

Afghan officials say the country's army chief and the defence minister have resigned following the weekend Taliban attack at a northern army base that killed more than 100 military and other personnel.

The exact toll from Friday's assault in the northern province of Balkh remains unclear, with some local officials putting the number of dead as high as 130.

The attack was led by ten Taliban militants dressed in soldiers' uniforms and armed with suicide vests who opened fire on unarmed troops at close range in a mosque and dining hall.

Also on Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived unannounced in Kabul to assess what has become America's longest war as the Trump administration weighs sending in more U.S. troops to help the Afghans fight the insurgency. While there was no official word on casualties, it is usually Afghan nationals guarding the gates to US bases. Officials there plan regional deployments and attacks, and US-supplied helicopters and fighter planes are launched from the base to support Afghan troops battling the Taliban. He said Afghan soldier and security forces "have my personal assurance that we will continue to stand with them".

Mr. Ghani's office also confirmed that he had replaced the commanders of four army corps, including the 209th, which is stationed at the base in Balkh Province that was attacked.

"Other officials have told BBC that at least 136 people died - 124 coffins had been sent out to different parts of the country and 12 soldiers had not yet been identified, they said".

Mattis's visit to Afghanistan follows meetings in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti.

Top officials said Monday that the US needs to confront Russian Federation for providing arms to the Taliban in the wake of a devastating attack on an Afghan army base. "Investigations must be acceptable to the nation and the president,"said President Ashraf Ghani's spokesperson Shah Hussain Murtazawi".

Despite ongoing support from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops, Afghan forces continue to struggle to contain a resurgent Taliban and the country's precarious security situation feels like it is dangling by a thread.

"The numbers of the Afghan security forces are decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence are increasing", according to the January 30 report to Congress.

Other reports by iNewsToday