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Afghan official: Army compound attacked by gunmen, 8 dead

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military compound after an attack by gunmen in Mazar-e- Sharif province north of kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, April 21, 2017. Gunmen wearing army uniforms stormed a military compound in the Balkh province, killing at least eight soldiers and wounding 11 others, an Afghan government official said Friday. (AP Photo/Mirwais Najand)

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military compound after an attack by gunmen in Mazar-e- Sharif province north of kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, April 21, 2017. Gunmen wearing army uniforms stormed a military compound in the Balkh province, killing at least eight soldiers and wounding 11 others, an Afghan government official said Friday. (AP Photo/Mirwais Najand)

KABUL — Gunmen wearing army uniforms stormed a military compound in the Balkh province, killing at least eight soldiers and wounding 11 others, an Afghan government official said Friday.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command later told reporters in Washington that the attack near Mazar-i-Sharif left dozens of "friendly" Afghan casualties.

Daulat Waziri, spokesman for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence , said gunmen entered the compound manned by members of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army with a military vehicle. There, they began shooting at soldiers as they prayed in a mosque in the compound, Waziri said.

Eight soldiers were left dead and 11 were wounded, he said.

Waziri said five attackers were killed in the battle, including one wearing a suicide vest who was killed by soldiers before he could trigger his explosives. He said one of the attackers was caught and arrested.

The Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack.

Col. John J. Thomas, the CENTCOM spokesman, said Afghan forces killed several attackers in response to the assault that targeted a mosque and dining facility at Camp Shaheen. He said Afghan civilians were probably working at the base as well as soldiers.

Thomas said the situation at the base was "not yet resolved" and that there were probably more than 50 Afghan casualties, but did not say how many of those were killed and how many were wounded.

Thomas could not say whether any coalition forces were at the base, but said there were no coalition casualties.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Pennington in Washington, D.C. , contributed to this report.

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