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Five Afghan Soldiers Killed In Predawn Attack On Army Post

An Afghan security personnel guards the site of an attack near the Marshal Fahim Military Academy base in Kabul on January 29.
An Afghan security personnel guards the site of an attack near the Marshal Fahim Military Academy base in Kabul on January 29.

The Afghan Defense Ministry says five militants struck an army guard post near the country’s main military academy in Kabul, killing at least five soldiers and wounding 10 others.

The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the January 29 attack through its Amaq news agency. It follows several deadly assaults in the Afghan capital claimed by the Taliban militant group over the past few weeks.

Spokesman Dawlat Waziri said a suicide bomber first attacked the unit responsible for guarding the Marshal Fahim Military Academy, then the other insurgents engaged soldiers in a gunbattle that killed at least five Afghan soldiers.

Waziri told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that two militants blew themselves up, two were killed in the gunbattle, and one was captured alive by soldiers.

Waziri said the attack targeted the unit guarding the military academy and not the facility itself, adding that at least 10 military personnel were wounded.

Personnel at the military academy were the targets of an October 21 attack claimed by the Taliban that killed at least 15 cadets as they were leaving the facility.

Local and international news agencies cited Afghan security sources and others as saying explosions and gunfire could be heard near the entrance to the military academy in the early hours of the morning.

Tolo News said its journalist on the scene reported that security forces immediately blocked off all roads in the area.

Reuters quoted Kabul resident Mohammad Ehsan as saying the explosions began at around 5 a.m. local time and lasted for at least an hour.

The resident said additional smaller blasts could be heard at frequent intervals following the larger explosions.

The German dpa news agency quoted an Afghan military officer who lives in the area as saying he heard 11 explosions as the attack began.

"These explosions could be rocket-propelled grenades," the officer said.

The reports of the attack came as Afghanistan's government has declared a day of mourning for January 28 after a bomb attack claimed by the Taliban in the capital killed 103 people on the afternoon of January 27.

Officials said that attacker used an ambulance to pass through the checkpoints and reach Sadarat Square, near many government buildings, foreign embassies, and shops.

At least 235 other people were wounded in the attack, including more than 30 police officers.

Following the January 27 attack, U.S. President Donald Trump called for "decisive action" by all countries against the Taliban.

"This murderous attack renews our resolve and that of our Afghan partners," he said.

The latest attacks come about a week after an assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in the city that killed at least 25 people.

Afghan government forces have struggled to fight the Taliban and other militant groups since U.S. and NATO troops formally ended their combat mission in 2014.

Trump has committed to stepping up the U.S. military's engagement in Afghanistan, pledging thousands more U.S. troops without setting deadlines.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa, and Tolo News