Alwaght- Eight Afghan soldiers have been killed and 15 others injured in an attack by gunmen on a military compound in the northern province of Balkh on Friday.
Daulat Waziri, the spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said the militants stormed the compound with a military vehicle and opened fire at the soldiers praying in a mosque at the base.
The military spokesman added that the Afghan troops killed an assailant wearing an explosive vest before his bomb could detonate.
The Taliban militant group, in a statement, claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants set off a blast, allowing bombers armed with small arms to breach the compound.
Khaama Press earlier reported that a gun battle between security forces and unknown gunmen preceded an explosion that took place in the vicinity of 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces.
The fighting is reportedly ongoing in the area surrounding the military base, which lies in Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital of Balkh.
Taliban militants have launched their annual spring offensive in the war-torn country, targeting security forces and US-led foreign troops.
The militants were removed from power following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, but they have stepped up activities in recent months, attempting to overrun several provinces.
Thousands of foreign troops are still in Afghanistan, but apparently maintaining security remains an issue amid almost frequent incidents of violence across the country.
ISIS terrorist group has also steadily made inroads into the violence-hit country.
The terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has recently managed to take recruits from Afghan Taliban defectors. It has also enjoyed defections from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.