Dozens of bodies of Afghan soldiers have been found in a military base stormed last week by Taliban militants in the embattled southern province of Uruzgan, officials said on Thursday.
The attack in Chinartu district last Friday underlined the ferocity of fighting in many areas of Afghanistan even as speculation has increased about a possible ceasefire during the Eid holiday later this month.
“We have discovered and transported 40 bodies from the area, so far,” district governor Faiz Mohammad said, adding that a number of security forces were still missing.
News of the attack only began filtering out over the past two days. Muhammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the ministry of defense, said 27 Afghan soldiers were killed and five wounded.
The base was back under control of security forces, said Radmanish but the attack has caused significant damage and weapons losses.
Amir Muhammad Barekzai, a member of the provincial council, said some soldiers appear to have been shot after they were captured but it was not possible to obtain independent confirmation. No comment was immediately available from a Taliban spokesman.
“By Wednesday evening, the bodies of 27 soldiers were discovered, but a number of others are still missing,” Barekzai said.
The attack underlines the heavy losses still being suffered by security forces as they fight the Taliban insurgents. A report last year by SIGAR, a U.S. Congressional watchdog, said the losses were “shockingly high” but Afghan authorities no longer release overall casualty data.
The Taliban are fighting the Western-backed government to restore their version of sharia, or Islamic law, after they were driven out by U.S.-led forces in 2001.