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Afghan Forces Retake Villages In Northern Province

FILE: Afghan National Army soldiers in a Kunduz district.
FILE: Afghan National Army soldiers in a Kunduz district.

Afghan security forces have recaptured several villages in a key district in northern Kunduz Province after a week of fierce fighting with Taliban militants, local officials say.

At least four villages in Kunduz's Imam Saheb district have been cleared from the militants, provincial police chief Abdul Hamid Hamidi said on June 10.

Hamidi said that "foreign militants, including Pakistani nationals, Chechens, Tajiks, and Uzbeks are fighting alongside the Taliban in Kunduz."

Hamidi said that security raids still continue in the district.

Meanwhile, local residents in Imam Saheb say their homes have been severely damaged during the fighting and and are demanding that the government help them to rebuild their houses. Many villagers had fled to nearby areas during the intense clashes.

Kunduz has been the main battlefield for the Taliban in northern Afghanistan since the NATO combat mission ended in 2014.The capital of the province was briefly captured by militants in 2015.

Mosque Attack

In a separate development in Afghanistan, police say that at least three civilians have been shot and killed by gunmen inside a mosque in eastern Paktia Province.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement on June 10 that nine others were wounded in the attack, which took place in the provincial capital, Gardez, late on June 9.

There was no immediate claim of responsibly for the assault, but the Taliban and Haqqani network are active in the region and often target government officials as well as Afghan security forces.

The latest attack comes as Afghanistan observes a day of national mourning for more than 200 victims of recent terrorist attacks across the country.

With reporting by dpa, AP

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