Afghanistan: A suicide car bomb explosion happened close to National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces training center in Maidan Shahr, capital of Wardak province, on Monday morning, local officials confirmed.
The incident happened at about 7am local time after a car bomb exploded close to a base where Afghan NDS forces are stationed, a spokesman for provincial governor Rahman Mangal said.
Initially provincial public health officials confirmed that the militants’ attack left 24 killed or wounded, but a provincial council member said the number of casualties killed and wounded is more than 50.
But now local officials in Afghanistan’s Wardak province said on Tuesday (Jan 22) they believed the attack on the NDS base in the province’s capital the previous day may have killed over 100 people.
Provincial council member Nafisa Selai Wardak said at least 126 agency members were killed in the attack that began on Monday morning when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive laden-vehicle outside the base.
The other spy agency members in the base, which was home to 150, were all injured, Mr Wardak said.
Another provincial council member, Mr Sardar Bakhtyari, said 60 bodies had so far been pulled out of the rubble and that up to 130 people may have been killed in total.
Mr Bakhtyari claimed Afghan authorities were hiding the real casualty figure.
Mr Salim Asghakhel, the head of public health in the province, said the blast had caused part of the roof of the two-storey building to collapse.
The attack was claimed by Afghan Taliban group.
Taliban used an explosive-laden HUMVEE to breach the base, after which two fighters then entered the base & opened fire.
According to Taliban spox, the attack began early in the morning. A suicide bomber identified by Taliban as Abdul Hadi al-Helmandi detonated an “explosives-laden Humvee after entering the base, destroying the entire base & trapping dead/wounded gunmen under rubble.” Two other heavily armed fidayeen fighters identified by the Taliban as “Hafiz Abdullah Ghaznawi and Hafiz Asadullah Junaid Zabuli,” then entered the facility and targeted the remaining Afghan forces, according to Taliban spox.
Photographs from the scene do show heavy damage at the base.
Afghan Taliban also released photos of the three fighters who carried out the attack on the NDS base with the face of at least one of the fighters blurred.
Afghan officials also fear that the death toll may rise as time passes by.
UPDATE 23rd Jan 2019:
On Wednesday, Afghan intelligence agency NDS claimed that the mastermind of Wardak attack, identified as Taliban Commander Noman, has been killed in an airstrike along with half a dozen other militants on Tuesday.
FLASH: Afghan intelligence agency the NDS said today that it has killed the mastermind of the recent deadly Taliban attack in Wardak which targeted an NDS base.
The mastermind has been identified by NDS as Commander Noman, who was killed in an air strike yesterday.
— F. Jeffery 👁 (@Natsecjeff) January 23, 2019
In a statement, Afghan Taliban rejected NDS claim that it has killed the mastermind of the Wardak attack.