More than 140 soldiers and officers were killed when Taliban militants attacked an Afghan army base in northern Balkh province on Friday, an official says.
The attack, seen as the deadliest ever on an Afghan army base, took place in the vicinity of the 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army forces in Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital of Balkh, on Friday.
According to reports, as many as 10 Taliban gunmen stormed the base where Afghan soldiers were leaving a mosque after Friday prayers.
The assailants apparently disguised in military uniforms used rocket-propelled grenades and riffles during the attack.
The Taliban militant group, in a statement, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan.
Taliban militants have launched their annual spring offensive in the war-torn country, targeting security forces and US-led foreign troops.
The militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.
Thousands of foreign troops are still in Afghanistan, but apparently maintaining security remains an issue amid almost frequent incidents of violence across the country.
Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has also steadily made inroads into the war-hit country.
The terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has recently managed to take recruits from Afghan Taliban defectors. It has also enjoyed defections from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.