Afghan Army soldiers search people at a checkpoint on a highway leading to the Maiwind district of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Thursday. At least 43 soldiers were killed and another nine were wounded in an attack earlier in the day at a military base. Photo by Muhammad Sadiq/EPA
Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Taliban insurgents detonated two Humvees stolen from Afghan security forces, killing at least 43 Afghan soldiers at army camp in the southern Kandahar province, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Nine other soldiers were wounded and six were unaccounted for after the attack, which began at 3 a.m. Thursday at the Chashmo base in Maiwand district, the Afghan defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Dawlat Waziri, said in Kabul.
Two of the 60 soldiers were found unhurt and 10 attackers also were killed, Waziri said.
"The whole base is destroyed," Waziri said. "When the clashes started, they detonated a car bomb close to the base, then clashes continued for a while and then they detonated another car bomb. They also had Humvees packed with explosives."
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it had killed 60 people .
The attack was two days after a similar Humvee bombing at a police training center in the eastern province of Paktia killed police and civilians. In all more than 70 people died in attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday.
"During the fall of Kunduz and some other areas in the country, the Taliban could have seized some Humvees," Waziri said about the 2015 seizure.
The Taliban previously used Toyota sedans in bombings.
Safar Mohammed, the deputy police chief of Kunduz, estimates that the Taliban have captured about 20 Humvees from Afghan forces in the province and about 60 to 70 Ranger pickup trucks.
Abdul Jabbar Qahraman, a member of the Afghan Parliament, said the Taliban seized seven vehicles -- Humvees and Ranger trucks -- during the bombing at the base.
After the first explosion, the military base caught fire.
"The explosion was very powerful - it broke our doors and windows and we thought it might be an earthquake or bombs from aircrafts dropped on our home," Abdul Rahim Maiwandwal, a shopkeeper who lives in the Chashmo area, told The New York Times.
"After the explosion, we heard shootings, and then more explosions. When I was leaving for work in the morning, I saw the camp was totally destroyed and burned."
After the attack, Afghan security forces said that they had launched air and ground operations in 17 provinces that had killed 102 insurgents.