A wounded Afghan National Army soldier rests in a hospital after an attack on Afghan army base in Gardez, capital of Paktia province on May 14, 2020. Photo: AFP

The Taliban said it carried out a deadly attack Thursday on an Afghan army base after the government ordered forces to resume strikes against the militants. 

Afghan officials said a vehicle carrying a bomb targeted an army base in the eastern city of Gardez, killing five civilians and wounding 19 – including five army personnel.

Provincial health director Welayat Khan Ahmadzai confirmed the death toll, but the Taliban claimed “tens of soldiers were killed and wounded,” and denied reports that civilians were killed. 

“After the announcement of the offensive… a martyrdom attack was carried out against an important military headquarters of the Kabul administration,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a WhatsApp message to media.

The attack comes two days after a deadly assault on a hospital in Kabul killed at least 24 people, including infants and nurses.

It was followed by a suicide bombing at a funeral in the eastern province of Nangarhar which killed 32 mourners.

Those attacks prompted President Ashraf Ghani to overturn the government’s recent “defensive” posture, aimed at promoting peace talks with the Taliban.

The Taliban, which denied involvement in Tuesday’s attacks, warned they were “fully prepared” to counter any strikes.