Afghan security forces say they are preparing to launch a counterattack in a district of the northern province of Kunduz that has been seized by Taliban fighters and Central Asian militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the Kunduz provincial council, confirmed the militants seized the Chardara district on June 20 after two days of attacks against pro-government local militia.
The Chardara district lies to the west of the provincial capital, Kunduz City.
RFE/RL's correspondent in Kunduz reports that the Kunduz River, about 5 kilometers west of the provincial capital, now forms a strategically important natural boundary between the militants and government-controlled territory.
Taliban fighters also hold positions in the Gul Tepe area on the northwest side of the provincial capital.
Taliban and Central Asian militants launched an offensive in Kunduz Province in April after massing up to 2,000 fighters.
Many of the militants infiltrated northern Afghanistan during the past year after fleeing a Pakistani Army offensive in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa