Taliban insurgents have taken control of the Chardara district in northern Kunduz province, according to Afghan officials.
Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council in Kunduz, said on Sunday that Taliban fighters established control of the district after two days of attacks on local security forces.
Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said that reinforcements are being dispatched and an operation to retake the district is imminent.
“Right now an intensive gun battle is going on in the area and local people, including women and children, are fleeing the fight,” said Ayubi, adding that the sound of heavy and light weapons fire could be heard in Kunduz city, the provincial capital.
Afghan army and police forces have sustained heavy losses in the field against the Taliban following the departure of international combat forces at the end of last year.
The fighting on Saturday in the Chardara district killed three members of the Afghan security forces and wounded six, Hussaini said.
Among the Taliban fighters, he estimated that 17 were killed and more than 20 wounded. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement and claimed heavy casualties among the Afghan security forces.
Meanwhile a statement from the Afghan Ministry of Interior claimed that Afghan security forces had re-established control of the Yamgan district in north eastern Badakhshan province, which fell into Taliban hands earlier this month.