Afghan Defense, Army Chiefs Step Down After Taliban Attack - Presidential Office

© REUTERS / Anil UsyanAfghan National Army (ANA) soldiers keep watch at the gate of an army headquarters a day after an attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 22, 2017
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers keep watch at the gate of an army headquarters a day after an attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, northern Afghanistan April 22, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Afghanistan's defense minister and chief of staff have resigned with immediate effect following an attack by the banned in Russia Taliban movement on a northern army base, the Afghan presidential office said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Friday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson Col. John Thomas said that over 50 people, both servicemen and civilians, were killed in an attack by the Taliban terrorists on a military base in the country's northern province of Balkh in the base's mosque during prayers. 

"Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi [and] Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down with immediate effect," the office said on Twitter.

The number of deaths has risen to some 135 soldiers, while at least 60 soldiers were injured, some of them are currently in critical condition, the TOLOnews outlet reported, citing a government official.

Other media reports suggest that the death toll rose to 140 people, while the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed on Friday that over 100 individuals died in the attack.

Afghanistan has been experiencing significant political, social and security-related instability for decades, as terrorist organizations, such as the Taliban and Daesh, both outlawed in Russia and many other countries, continue to stage attacks against civilian and military targets.

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