The suicide car bomb blast near a military base in Pul-e-Khumri was followed by a gunfight, killing at least six security force members, according to a spokesperson for the Afghan National Army.

Afghan special forces arrive at the site of an attack in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 5, 2019.
Afghan special forces arrive at the site of an attack in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 5, 2019. (Reuters Archive)

At least six Afghan security forces have been killed and six wounded in a suicide car bombing and gunfight claimed by the Taliban in the restive northern Baghlan province.

Abbas Tawkali, a spokesman for the Afghan National Army, said the suicide car bombing on Thursday morning was followed by a gunfight on the outskirts of the provincial capital Pul-e-Khumri. 

“The suicide bomber was spotted before he could reach the target and was fired upon by the security forces, compelling the attacker to blow up explosives,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The Taliban, on the other hand, claimed to have inflicted “heavy losses” on the army.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweeted that up to 50 security forces were “killed and wounded” in this assault.

A day earlier, the same province saw a brazen assault on a group of deminers, killing at least 10 in cold blood and wounding 16 others.

The deminers were associated with the Halo Trust, a British charity and YS non-profit that “since 1988 has been destroying explosive items in Afghanistan.”

READ MORE: Militants gun down mine-clearers in northern Afghanistan

Halo Trust committed to Afghanistan

The Halo Trust, the victim of Wednesday's deadly armed assault on deminers, on Thursday vowed not to leave the war-ravaged country.

“We could be fearful of what is happening in Afghanistan... We have been through all up and downs of life and deaths in Afghanistan. We are going to stay, we are there for the people for Afghanistan and we still have a job to be done,” James Cowan, the trust’s CEO, said in a statement.

According to UN estimates, there are some 120 mine-related civilian casualties in Afghanistan every month, while the International Campaign to Ban Landmines recorded 1,538 fatalities due to land mines in the country in 2019.

The Taliban, however, issued a swift denial.

In an online video, the group’s spokesperson said eyewitness had confirmed that Daesh/ISIS terrorists carried out the attack.

The BBC also quoted Cowan as saying that “the local Taliban ... came to our aid and scared the assailants off.”

READ MORE:  Historic rise in Taliban attacks could ‘make or break’ Afghan peace process

Source: TRTWorld and agencies