The Taliban attacked a northern provincial capital in Afghanistan as authorities said they installed a new air defense system at Kabul airport to prevent rocket attacks by the militants.
The Taliban has captured around one-third of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 districts since the start of the international military withdrawal, raising fears that the government in Kabul could collapse.
Officials said government forces repelled a Taliban assault on Taloqan, the provincial capital of Takhar Province, on the border with Tajikistan, on July 11.
"The enemy's offensive attacks were repelled, and they suffered heavy and unprecedented casualties, as a result of which 55 enemy soldiers were killed and 90 were wounded," said Takhar governor Abdullah Qarluq.
Qarluq’s claims could not be confirmed.
The Defense Ministry said it conducted air strikes against Taliban positions on the outskirts of Taloqan, claiming it killed more than a dozen militants.
Taloqan is the latest provincial capital to come under Taliban attack. Earlier this week, Taliban fighters entered Qala-e Naw, the capital of the northwestern province of Badghis, seizing police and security facilities and attempting to take over the governor's office before special forces pushed them back.
With international forces withdrawing by August 31, there has also been growing concern about the security of the capital and its airport, a crucial exit route for foreign diplomats and workers.
In a statement on July 11, the Interior Ministry said the newly installed air defense system has been operational in Kabul since 2 am local time.
"The system has proven useful in the world in repelling rocket and missile attacks," the statement said.
Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants regularly fire mortars and rockets at government forces, military bases, and airports.
Turkey has pledged to provide security for Kabul airport once U.S. and NATO troops leave next month.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 9 that Turkey and the United States had agreed on the "scope" of how the airport would be managed under the control of Turkish forces.