Over 50 soldiers were killed and several wounded when 10 Taliban gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms attacked the army base in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan on Friday. Two of the gunmen blew themselves up while seven of them were killed and one was detained by the Afghan forces.
US General John Nicholson, the commander of NATO's Resolute Support operation, said in a statement that the attack, which lasted for several hours, targeted "soldiers at prayer in a mosque and others in a dining facility" of the Afghan army's 209th Corps, AFP reported. Nicholson lauded the Afghan army for bringing the "atrocity to an end."
Afghan Defence Ministry Spokesman General Dawlat Waziri said that the attack was launched in the army compound on the outskirts of Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, around 2 pm local time and ended early in the evening.
Here's a list of five suicide attacks that took place in Mazar-e-Sharif:
Attack on German Consulate:
In November 2016, at least six civilians were killed and around 120 injured when a suicide bomber crashed a truck into the German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Gunshots were also heard outside the consulate after the blast.
Taliban claimed responsibility calling it a "revenge attack" for the airstrikes that were carried out by the US in the Kunduz province earlier that month claiming the lives of around 32 civilians. According to the local police, one suspect was arrested in connection with the suicide bombing.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the fighters had been sent "with a mission to destroy the German consulate general and kill whoever they found there," Reuters reported.
Blast in a crowded market:
A suicide bombing in a crowded market in Mazar-e-Sharif, which is an important commercial centre near the border with Uzbekistan, claimed the lives of at least two people and injured 15 in August 2016.
Police Commander Baba Jan said that "the bomber detonated his explosives in the main market and all the victims are civilians." However, the Interior Ministry said that the bomb was hidden in a cart, Reuters reported.
Suicide attack on Afghan National Army:
In February 2016, a suicide bombing claimed the lives of at least three members of the Afghan National Army and injured another 18, three of whom were critical. Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The car bomb, using which the attacker hit a bus that was transporting the army in Mazar-e-Sharif, targeted the 209 Shaheen Military Corps, TOLO News reported.
Suicide attack on Balkh Deputy Governor:
A suicide bombing, targeting the convoy of Deputy Governor of Balkh Province Mohammad Zhir Wahdat, killed a civilian and injured four others, including two police officers, in November 2013.
Abdul Rahman Rahimi, the Balkh Provincial Police Chief, was quoted by TOLO News as saying that "the Deputy Governor is fine and he was not hurt in the attack."
The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency medical treatment.
2011 Afghanistan Ashura bombings:
The two suicide bombings took place in the Afghan capital of Kabul and in Mazar-e-Sharif in 2011 on the occasion of Ashura, which is considered to be an annual holy day within the Muslim community across the world.
The first suicide attack happened at the Shia shrine in Kabul claiming the lives of over 70 civilians while the second bomb, which was attached to a bicycle exploded close to a mosque killing around four people. A third bomb also exploded in Kandahar injuring five people.
The overall death toll was around 80 while over 160 were wounded.