Clashes in Afghanistan Kill Dozens of Taliban Near Pakistan Border

After mounting an attack on a foreign troop base in eastern Afghanistan late Tuesday, as much as 70 Taliban fighters were killed.

Afghan officials have confirmed the insurgency attack on the joint NATO-Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) Barmal district base in Paktika province, a province that lies just north of the Pakistani border.

The fighting between Taliban and NATO forces went on for less than two hours, and according to local officials foreign forces suffered no casualties.

A spokesman for the governor of Paktika province, Mokhlis Afghan, said that the insurgent group likely came from across the Pakistani border and used small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack.

Mokhlis said, “The insurgents were armed with heavy and light weapons. In retaliation ANSF launched their own attack. After a fierce gun battle and air support from NATO, all of the insurgents were killed.”

Mokhlis added, “There were no civilian, NATO or ANSF casualties.”

A local police official told the BBC that foreign fighters were among those that were in the insurgent group.

He said, “We know for sure that there are foreign fighters among those killed because we listened to their radio chatter, there were Arabic, Chechen, Uzbek and Urdu speakers.”

As the attack was very close to the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, a known safe haven for Taliban and Haqqani network insurgents, Afghan intelligence officials are questioning if the Pakistani officials aided insurgents or if they perhaps ignored the threat.

The attack comes as NATO is preparing to hand security over to Afghan troops ahead of a scheduled 2014 pullout.

Since the United States went into Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, America has lost at least 1,717 members of its military, according to a Defense Department tally.

The military also counted that 14,793 service members have been wounded in battle since the U.S. sent troops into the South Asian “graveyard of empires.”