Intense fighting in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan kills 23

TEHRAN, Jul. 03 (MNA) – Afghan security sources said on Saturday dozens of people were killed in heavy clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan province.

Xinhua reported an Afghan army officer in Badakhshan province Captain Abdul Razaq as saying on Saturday that heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban killed 20 Taliban militants and three government forces.

Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed on Saturday that their forces took control of another five more districts in the northern province.

The Chinese news agency also cited some locals on the condition of anonymity as saying that the Taliban fighters had captured the headquarters of Tagab, Kishim, Tashkan and Shahr-e-Buzarg districts of Badakhshan over the past 24 hours.

However, Badakhshan's provincial government spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari in talks with Xinhua has denied the fall of the districts to the Taliban militants, saying that the fighting has been continuing.

Taliban militants have intensified activities since two months ago when foreign forces began to withdraw from Afghanistan on May 1. 

Meanwhile, Afghan Avapress cited a member of the Daykundi Province Council Gherat Allah Javehri as saying that the Taliban began heavy attacks last night to seize the city of Pato in the province.

He said that local people resisted the militants and inflicted heavy losses on the Taliban in the clashes. Lots of local people have also left their homes for fear of Taliban.

KI/PR

News Code 175622

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