At least six Afghan soldiers have been killed when Taliban militants launched an attack on a major military base in Afghanistan’s troubled southern province of Helmand.
Ghulam Farooq Parwani, deputy head of the Afghan National Army in Helmand, said on Friday that a group of Taliban members sought to storm Camp Shorabak, previously known as Camp Bastion and handed over by British forces to Afghans last month, late on Thursday.
He added that an assailant detonated a car bomb at the gate of the camp and others tried to enter.
The senior Afghan army commander further noted that more than 20 militants, including seven bombers, were killed in the fighting overnight.
Parwani said six Afghan soldiers also died while seven soldiers were wounded in the attack. He dismissed Taliban allegations that a far larger number of Afghan soldiers had been killed or military aircraft and tanks had been destroyed during the assault.
Also on Friday, a separate attack in Nawzad district of Helmand province killed three people, including two police officers.
The new wave of violence in Afghanistan comes as the Upper House of Afghanistan’s Parliament on Thursday ratified the country’s Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington, and the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
Based on the agreements, the United States and NATO could keep a total of 12,500 soldiers in Afghanistan next year for what they describe as supporting Afghan forces.
The agreements grant immunity to US-led troops operating in the country. They also allow the US-led forces to carry out deadly overnight raids on Afghan homes, which have triggered widespread protests in Afghanistan.