TOLOnews reporter Sharif Amiry was finally allowed access to the scene of Friday’s carnage at the Afghan National Army 209 Shaheen Military Corps in Balkh province.
What he found there was a scene of total destruction and carnage.
An estimated 250-plus soldiers died in the bloodbath after Taliban stormed the base during Friday prayers.
Shaheen Military Corps is a key military base in the country. Now, however, it is a scene of carnage with the smell of blood still hanging in the air.
On Friday, at least 10 insurgents, including three suicide bombers, made their way on to the army base.
One suicide bomber reportedly detonated his explosives outside the mosque on the base, a second detonated his explosives close to bathrooms while the third detonated explosives at the canteen.
All ten were dressed in full army gear and managed to gain access on to the base in two army vehicles. They were armed with rocket launchers, and PK and M249 machine guns, according to officials.
Amiry meanwhile said the attack started at a check post inside the compound when soldiers ordered the insurgents to hand over their weapons. The attackers refused and instead opened fire on the soldiers.
From there they made their way to the second check point, which was just a few meters away. They then threw hand grenades at the soldiers.
Amiry said one military official, who asked not to be named, said that six soldiers should have been on duty at each check point at the time. However, both check points were manned by only three soldiers each.
The attackers then reportedly drew up outside the mosque where dozens of soldiers were praying. One insurgent detonated his explosives outside the mosque.
Following the explosion, the attackers then opened fire on the soldiers inside the mosque – causing total carnage.
The attackers realized that many soldiers had taken cover inside the bathrooms, which were close to the mosque. They proceeded to the area and again opened fire on them.
According to Amiry, the shooting spree inside the mosque lasted for almost half an hour.
However, one of the attackers then detonated his explosives close to the bathrooms while other attackers started shooting soldiers hiding in nearby rooms.
The Imam’s personal room in the mosque complex was also targeted and footage shows the level of destruction – so much so that part of the ceiling had caved in.
Mawlawi Ahmadullah, the Imam at 209 Shaheen Army Corps’ mosque - who was with Amiry on Tuesday – said: “Thirteen people were killed in my room and their bodies were burnt.”
“The door was locked but they broke it open and entered and shot all people in here (Imam’s room),” he said.
Ahmadullah however had a lucky escape on Friday as had been unable to lead prayers that day.
The final leg of the attack took place near the base’s canteen. Once again the destruction caused was immense.
One of the soldier, who has returned to duty at the base, told Amiry: “We will take our revenge from those who killed our colleagues.”
Former commander of the military corps, Gen. Mohmand Katawazai called the attack “an inhuman move and called for retaliation.”
“They are not Muslim,” Katawazai said adding that “our soldiers are even more motivated” and after this attack they know the Taliban “are not Muslim.”