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Taliban, Afghan forces clash near Kunduz city

The Taliban and Afghan forces clashed on Monday on the outskirts of the strategic northern city of Kunduz, with the insurgents claiming to have captured three districts in the region in a week.

The Taliban have launched major offensives targeting government forces since early May when the U.S. military began its final troop withdrawal, and claim to have seized more than 50 of the country’s 421 districts.

Many of their claims are disputed by the government, and independent verification is difficult.

“The Taliban fighters are at the gates of the city and they are fighting Afghan forces,” said Amruddin Wali, a Kunduz provincial council member.

He said the insurgents have also taken up positions on highways that connect Kunduz city to neighbouring provinces.

On Monday, the Taliban claimed they had captured the Imam Sahib district of the province, the third to be taken in a week.

Kunduz police spokesman Inamuddin Rahmani confirmed the fighting, and said his forces had killed about 50 Taliban fighters in the past 24 hours.

The Taliban have repeatedly attempted to capture the city, located not far from Tajikistan border. The insurgents briefly held Kunduz twice before — in September 2015, and again a year later.

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