At least six Afghan soldiers have been killed in a powerful suicide car bombing that targeted a military compound in the country’s northern Balkh Province in the early morning of December 26, officials say.
After the bomber detonated the explosives-packed car, a group of militants stormed the compound, the Defense Ministry said in a statement, calling the assault a "terrorist attack."
At least three soldiers were wounded in the explosion and the ensuing fighting between the militants and Afghan security forces.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the ministry and local officials blamed it on the Taliban.
Munir Farhad, a spokesman for the Balkh provincial governor, said clashes inside the compound continued for several hours before the attackers were repelled.
It comes two days after the Taliban stormed a checkpoint in Balkh's Dawlat Abad district, killing seven Afghan soldiers.
Six other members of the security forces -- three soldiers and three intelligence agents -- were wounded in that attack on December 24.
Taliban militants continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. forces, as well as government officials -- even as the group holds peace talks with a U.S. envoy tasked with negotiating an end to the military conflict in Afghanistan.