At least 27 security forces were killed when a military base in Afghanistan was stormed on Thursday. This was one of the biggest attacks since the signing of a violence-reduction agreement between the United States and the Taliban last month.
The Afghan government blamed the attack on the Taliban, with which the United States signed a peace agreement last month with a view to eventually withdrawing foreign forces from Afghanistan to reduce violence by the militant group.
As part of the agreement, the Taliban should also begin discussions with a delegation of Afghan leaders for lasting peace in the country – but the process has never continued after disagreements over the release of prisoners.
Armed Taliban militants stormed a joint military base of Afghan national defense forces in southern Zabul province late Thursday evening, according to a member of the provincial council, Haji Atta Jan Haqbayan.
The clash continued into the early hours of Friday, killing 27 Afghan forces, Haqbayan said, adding that the Taliban militants left the area after they captured weapons and ammunition.
The Taliban did not respond to requests for comments.
"The attack was carried out with the help of infiltrators," said a spokesman for the governor of Zabul.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense also said infiltrators within the Afghan armed forces helped carry out the attack and added that the incident was being investigated.
The Ministry of Defense put the death toll at 17.
The government said on Thursday earlier that it was ordering its armed forces to switch to an "active defense posture" while the Taliban attacks were continuing.
"This heinous act by the Taliban is a clear example of their commitment to continuing violence and against the Afghan peace process," Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan president, said on Twitter.