More than 100 army personnel have been killed and wounded in a Taliban attack on a military base in Afghanistan.
A spokesperson for the Afghanistan Defence Ministry said gunmen wearing army uniforms in a military vehicles and stormed the compound in Balkh province in the north of the country, near to the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
One official put the death toll at 140, making it the deadliest attack ever on an Afghan military base. However, this number was not confirmed by the country's defence ministry.
Other officials said the death toll could be even higher.
The attackers used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles to shoot at soldiers as they ate and as other returned from praying at a mosque on the base.
Daulat Wairi, a spokesperson for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence, said there were 10 attackers, two of who carried out suicide attacks, while the other eight were killed in the ensuing gun battle.
Witnesses described scenes of confusion as soldiers were uncertain who the attackers were.
"It was a chaotic scene and I didn't know what to do," said one army officer wounded in the attack.
"There was gunfire and explosions everywhere."
The Taliban said they were behind Friday's attack in retaliation for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in an email sent to media.
The email also claimed that four of the attackers were Taliban sympathisers who had infiltrated the army and served for some time.
The attack targeted a compound of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army, the country's largest army base which provides security for the country's northern and northeastern provinces.