By Shadi Khan Saif
Forty-three soldiers were killed in a Taliban-claimed twin car bomb and gun attack in southern Afghanistan early Thursday, the Ministry of Defense confirmed.
In a statement, the MoD acknowledged that the soldiers in the remote Maiwand district of Kandahar province were targeted by the Taliban in twin suicide car bombings followed by an armed assault.
"At around 2.50 a.m. in the morning (2220GMT Wednesday), a group of attackers attacked the Afghan National Army base in Maiwand district of Kandahar.
"There were 60 Afghan National Army (ANA) forces stationed there. In the clashes, 43 have embraced martyrdom, 9 are wounded, 6 are missing and 2 have survived", Gen. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the MoD said.
He added that the Corps Commander of the 205 – Atal Corps of the ANA had arrived at the site.
Two armored vehicles stolen from the security forces in previous clashes were used for the suicide bombings, according to Janan Gulzay, member of the provincial council in Kandahar.
The attacks come two days after similar massive suicide car bombings in Paktia and Ghazni provinces that killed over 70 people.
In a separate statement, the MoD said that up to 102 armed militants had been killed in air and ground offensives during the past 24 hours in 18 out of 34 provinces in the country.
There is an evident surge in deadly clashes across Afghanistan following the announcement of the new U.S. war strategy by President Donald Trump in August. The U.S. Forces in Afghanistan carried out up to 751 air strikes in the month of September alone, according to a U.S. Air Forces Central Command report.