The Taliban has dealt Afghanistan's army what appears to be a very heavy blow inside one of its own bases. Officials say more than 100 Afghan soldiers were killed or injured when Taliban militants attacked a base outside the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Friday, the BBC reports. Some military sources put the death toll as high as 134. Military officials say 10 attackers, including two suicide bombers, entered the base driving army vehicles and wearing military uniforms before attacking soldiers inside a mosque during Friday prayers. Officials say the ensuing firefight lasted for hours, with troops struggling to distinguish soldiers on their side from attackers.
The base is home to the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army, which is tasked with providing security across a large area of northern Afghanistan, the AP reports. "The attack on the 209 Corps today shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban," Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the NATO-led force in the country, said in a statement, per the Washington Post. "They killed soldiers at prayer in a mosque and others in a dining facility." The Taliban said four of the attackers were soldiers who knew the base well and had changed sides. The group denied attacking the mosque, saying soldiers were targeted in their barracks.