Numerous Afghan soldiers were reportedly killed while they slept in an attack by a Taliban member who had infiltrated their unit, The New York Times reported.
The infiltrator opened fire on the soldiers at a base in the Ghazni Province, then took their weapons and equipment, according to the Times.
The news outlet noted that the number of casualties was unclear as the Afghan Defense Ministry said nine were killed and the Taliban claimed 32 were killed. Provincial council member Esmatullah Jamuradwal told the paper that 23 were killed because only one person in the 24-member unit had survived the attack.
This was the second infiltration attack in the region in recent months; in July, an infiltrator killed an Afghan army commander, according to the Times.
The newspaper noted that gaining ground is important for both the Taliban and Afghan government so that they can be better positioned for negotiations with the U.S.
The recent talks between the U.S. and the Taliban were paused Friday so that Taliban negotiators could speak with their leaders. They come after President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump’s impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: ‘Really pathetic!’ MORE abruptly called off talks earlier this year following an attack claimed by the Taliban that killed 11 civilians and a U.S. service member.