Afghanistan’s Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim resigned on Monday after the deadliest Taliban attack on a military base last Friday when more than 140 Afghan soldiers were killed.
The assault on the army base in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif was organized by at least 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, who made their way on to the base and opened fire on soldiers and recruits eating a meal and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers.
The office of President Ghani announced in a post on its Twitter account that Defence Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim “stepped down with immediate effect.” They both confirmed to reporters that their resignations were voluntary.
Shortly after the attack the U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Afghanistan and met with Habibi.
“2017 is going to be another tough year for the valiant Afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood, and will continue to stand, shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan against terrorism,” Mattis said.
According to some senior officials who maintained anonymity, the intelligence showed that Russia is supporting the Taliban with money and weapons. Russia has denied their support of the group on many occasions but confirms that they maintain contact with Taliban officials in attempt to push for negotiations and peace. Moscow has been critical of USA over its handling of the war in Afghanistan.