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Taliban Seize Control Of Two Districts In Afghanistan

Taliban fighters in southeastern Paktia province
Taliban fighters in southeastern Paktia province

Afghan officials said the Taliban have seized control of two districts in northern and central Afghanistan, though the Defense Ministry maintained that fighting was still ongoing.

Abdul Karim Youresh, spokesman for the police chief of Faryab Province, said the militants seized Kohistan district, including the government headquarters, early on July 23.

Mohammad Mustafa Mohseni, the provincial police chief of Ghor Province, said Taywara district fell late on July 22 following clashes with militants. Officials said Taliban militants killed several doctors and patients in a Taywara hospital.

The Taliban said in a statement that they had captured both the Kohistan and the Taywara districts.

The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said the districts had not fallen, insisting that government forces were still locked in fighting with the militants.

Youresh said two police officer were killed in the clashes in Faryab, which has been the scene of repeated fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters seeking to expand their reach in the area.

He said security forces and police were battling the militants in eight districts in the province, located on the border with Turkmenistan.

Meanwhile, Moheseni said at least eight police were killed in fighting against the militants in Ghor, an impoverished, remote province in central Afghanistan.

The Taliban are engaged in fighting with security forces in the northern province of Baghlan, temporarily closing a key highway between the capital, Kabul, and northern Afghanistan.

News agencies cited local officials as saying on July 23 that Taliban militants killed several people in a Taywara district hospital, stalking the hallways in search of Afghan security personnel.

The reported death toll at the hospital ranged from four to 12. The Associated Press cited a provincial health official as saying that he received reports that the militants killed patients they believed were police or military personnel.

With reporting by Tolo News, Pajhwok, AP, and dpa