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Bombing inside Afghan army base leaves dozens dead or wounded

KHOST, Afghanistan — A bombing deep inside an army base in Afghanistan during Friday prayers at a mosque killed at least 27 soldiers and wounded dozens, officials said, once again highlighting the vulnerability of the country’s security forces.

The attack was inside the headquarters of the Afghan army’s 1st Brigade, 203rd Corps, in the province of Khost, said Captain Abdullah Sargand, a brigade spokesman.

A senior official said at least 27 soldiers had been killed and an officer inside the base said more than 20 died. But other officials gave varying accounts of the casualty toll, some lower.

Gul Mohammad-din Mohammadi, the deputy head of Khost’s public health department, said 79 wounded soldiers had been taken to hospitals.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Members of the security forces in Afghanistan have been dying at alarming rates in recent years, as a resurgent Taliban have mounted attacks across the country. This year, officials put the daily death toll of the Afghan forces at 30 to 40 a day.

President Ashraf Ghani said this month that more than 28,000 members of the country’s security forces had been killed since 2015.

Other officials have suggested that the true number could be even higher.

Particularly alarming has been the insurgents’ reach and their ability to strike deep within some of the government’s most heavily guarded institutions.

New York Times