Thirteen Afghan army soldiers were killed in their sleep on Monday night after two fellow soldiers poisoned them and later opened fire on them in Afghanistan’s embattled northern Kunduz province, officials said on Tuesday. 

“The two soldiers deserted the small base after killing their fellow troops in Zakhil area on the outskirts of Kunduz city [the capital of the province],” a security official said on condition of anonymity.

The Afghan defence ministry launched an investigation into the incident. “We have sent a team to the area to investigate the matter,” General Dawlat Wazir, the spokesman for the ministry of defense said. 

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but said the base was attacked by its troops and all weapons were seized. 

“The two soldiers were affiliated with the Taliban,” said Amruddin Wali, a provincial council member from the province, the defence ministry however has not clarified the soldiers’ affiliation with the insurgent group yet. 

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