Vastavam web: At least 15 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters attacked their army base in the southern province of Kandahar, the defence ministry said today, in the second such assault this week.The attack in Shah Wali Kot district late yesterday came just three days after 10 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants stormed another base in the same area.”The Taliban launched a coordinated assault on an army base last night (Thursday) in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province,” ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
The attack comes as Taliban insurgents intensify their annual spring offensive and their strength is growing, more than 15 years after they were toppled from power in a US-led invasion.It highlights a growing insurgent offensive in Kandahar, where security has relatively improved in recent years under the leadership of police chief and regional strongman General Abdul Raziq.Raziq had lashed out at the central government in Kabul yesterday, accusing them of a plot to destabalise his province.
The attack marks another setback for NATO-backed Afghan forces. It comes just a month after the Taliban killed at least 135 soldiers in the northern province of Balkh in the deadliest insurgent attack on an Afghan military base since 2001.And in another deadly Taliban attack on security outposts in southern Zabul province on Sunday, local officials made desperate calls to Afghan television stations to seek attention because they were unable to contact senior authorities for help.
The battlefield losses have raised concerns about the capacity of Afghan forces, beset by unprecedented casualties and blamed for corruption, desertion and “ghost soldiers” who exist on the payroll but whose salaries are usurped by fraudulent commanders.