Published: Fri, May 05, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Afghan defence chiefs resign over deadly Taliban attack

Afghan defence chiefs resign over deadly Taliban attack

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accepted the resignations of his defence minister and army chief of staff on Monday, after more than 140 soldiers were killed last week in the deadliest-ever Taliban attack on a military base, the president's office said.

"Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down with immediate effect", the president's office stated in a tweet.

While the Afghan military did not give an exact figure of the dead and injured, the Balkh Provincial Council in its statement said over 100 soldiers had been killed and more than 60 others were wounded in the incident.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the Afghan defence minister and his army chief resigned in the wake of the attack.

Mattis started his visit at the headquarters of Operation Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission to train and advise Afghan security forces.

"There are eight gates at the corps", said Hassan, a 30-year-old commando soldier wounded in the attack. The resignations come just ahead of a visit by US Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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More than 29,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, and both countries are treaty-bound to guarantee the other's defense. Moon also toned down his THAAD criticism, saying its deployment would be inevitable if North Korea continued provocations.

The Taliban said the attack was retaliation for the killing of the Taliban governor of Kunduz province, Mullah Abdul Salam Akhund.

"This was an attack on the soldiers as they were returning from prayer".

Protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in Kabul on Monday mounting pressure for officials to held accountable, but not many did not participate in the demonstration due to high security alert in the area.

The assault is the deadliest by the Taleban on a military base.

General John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Kabul, recently told Congress that he needed a few thousand more troops to keep Afghan security forces on track to eventually handling the Taliban insurgency on their own.

Lawmakers in the upper house of the parliament Sunday also criticized the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces for confining their anti-terrorism operations to Daesh, and allowing the Taliban to wage more deadly attacks across the country. More than a third of Afghanistan is outside government control and many regions are fiercely contested by various insurgent groups, as Kabul's repeated bids to launch peace negotiations with the Taliban have failed.

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