Afghan defense min, army chief resign after attack

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
ISTANBUL
Published 24.04.2017 09:42
Updated 24.04.2017 10:18
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.  (Reuters Photo)
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. (Reuters Photo)

Afghanistan's defense minister, army chief have resigned after deadly Taliban attack, which killed at least 140 people last week, an official said Monday.

"President Ashraf Ghani has accepted the resignation of the defense minister and army chief of staff," the statement from Ghani's office said.

Furious Afghans had called for resignations of minister Abdullah Habibi and army chief Qadam Shah Shaheem after the assault outside the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday.

The attack is believed to be the deadliest-ever by the Taliban on a military base.

Ten gunmen dressed in soldiers' uniforms and armed with suicide vests entered the base in army trucks and opened fire at unarmed troops at close range in the mosque and dining hall.

The exact toll from the assault remains unclear. Afghan officials have so far ignored calls to break down the toll it has given of more than 100 soldiers killed or wounded. Some local officials have put the number of dead alone as high as 130.

Many Afghans slammed the government for its inability to counter the attack, the latest in a series of brazen Taliban assaults, including one on the country's largest military hospital in Kabul in March that left dozens dead.

Twelve army officers, including two generals, were sacked for negligence over that attack.

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