Authorities in northeastern Afghanistan confirmed Sunday the Taliban has captured a key military base in Tirgaran, at the Badakhshan province in the mountainous region of northeastern Afghanistan, bordering China and Tajikistan. The fall of the base happened after more than 100 Afghan security forces surrendered to the Taliban overnight. Badakhshan borders China and Tajikistan and has been the scene of major clashes between Taliban and Afghan security forces in recent weeks.

Fighting in the Tirgaran area erupted Friday night with coordinated attacks staged by the Taliban on several security outposts. The border police force personnel at the base surrendered to the Taliban because they were besieged and did not get reinforcement from the government. Some officials reportedly said that the commanders at the base “made a deal” with the Taliban, and surrendered all the weapons and equipment and joined the Taliban. This is the largest mass surrender and desertion since U.S. led NATO forces have withdrawn from war torn Afghanistan. The Taliban has focused their attacks on Afghan police and security forces. In May and June dozens have been killed in the attacks, although until now, the Taliban failed to gain terrain in their ‘summer campaign’.

Conflicts in this once peaceful province have escalated in recent weeks, as remote bases and checkpoints are becoming increasingly isolated and targeted by Taliban and other fighters, leading to increased casualties among Afghan security forces, AP reported.

The fall of Tirgaran comes after lines of communications have eroded in the region, due to repeated attacks as well as landslides and floods. Last month, repeated assaults on security checkpoints in the provinces’ Yagman district, that forced police to abandon the route. Last month The police base in the Wardoj, another town in the province, had been cut off as heavy rains destroyed roads into the area, but reinforcement or assistance failed to arrive. provinceWhile the Taliban has so far in this fighting season failed to maintain control over territories it has captured, the militants have inflicted heavy battlefield casualties on Afghan security forces. Voice

The New York Times reported Wednesday a more than 50 percent rise in the casualty rate among Afghan security forces this year compared with the first six months of 2014. It quoted officials with the US-led military coalition as saying that about 4,100 Afghan soldiers and police officers have been killed and around 8,000 wounded.

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