The death toll has risen to “as many as 140” Afghan soldiers in the wake of Friday’s attack on a military base by Taliban members apparently disguised in military uniforms, officials said.
One official in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where the attack occurred, said Saturday at least 140 soldiers were killed and many others were wounded, Reuters reported. Other officials said the toll could even be higher.
A U.S. official in Washington on Friday had put the toll at more than 50 killed and wounded, Reuters reported.
As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, slipped onto the base and opened fire on mostly unarmed soldiers eating a meal and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers, officials told Reuters.
The base is the headquarters for the Afghan National Army's 209th Corps, responsible for much of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz province where there has been heavy fighting.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Saturday the attack was retribution for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan.
"The attack on the 209th Corps today shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban," U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of coalition forces, said in a statement on Friday.