Kandahar: At least 37 people were killed and 35 others wounded after Taliban militants stormed Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan, with one of the 11 assailants still resisting security forces, the defence ministry said Wednesday.
“Nine insurgents have been killed, one other is injured and another one is still holding up against our forces,” the ministry said.
“Eight people, including civilians and soldiers, have been killed,” Samim Khpalwak, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, had earlier told AFP. "The insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the complex."
He added that the insurgents managed to breach the first gate of the airport complex.
Khpalwak further added that the attackers had managed to enter the air base where they encountered heavy resistance.
"They took up position in a school inside the complex," said Mohammad Mohsin Sultani, a military spokesman in Kandahar.
The government claimed on Wednesday morning that an unknown number of attackers had been killed but local residents, who were told to hunker down in their homes, were still reporting gunfire and explosions.
The attack on the sprawling complex, which also houses a joint Nato-Afghan base, coincides with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's high-profile visit to Islamabad for a regional conference.
Earlier, explosions and gunfire rang out as Taliban militants stormed the airport complex , officials said.
An Afghan official explained that the attackers managed to enter the air base, but encountered heavy resistance from the security forces stationed at the facility.
The Taliban are strong in southern Afghanistan, which has long been a bastion for the insurgent group.
Earlier in November, Taliban claimed responsibility of the deadly suicide attack that killed six people, including one soldier, in Kandahar.
In October, Taliban fighters on motorbikes had carried out hit-and-run attacks on Afghan forces trying to clear Kunduz city of insurgents, more than a week after the militant movement briefly seized the provincial capital.
Read more: Taliban fighters launch hit-and-run attacks in Kunduz
Afghan forces, hindered by the slow arrival of reinforcements but backed by limited United States (US) air support, struggled to regain control of the city after three days of heavy fighting.
The Taliban stepped up attacks during a summer offensive launched in late April against the Western-backed government in Kabul.
After years of costly involvement, most Nato troops pulled back from the front lines by the end of 2014, although a residual force of around 13,000 remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.