Taliban capture northern Afghan district

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Taliban insurgents has captured a district in northern Afghanistan, forcing government troops to retreat to the provincial capital amid a recent surge in violence, officials said on Wednesday.

Fighting has escalated sharply in recent weeks, with Afghan officials saying the Taliban have stepped up their attacks since Washington announced plans last month to pull out all US troops by Sept. 11.

The militants seized the district of Barka in the northern province of Baghlan after hours of fighting with Afghan forces, who retreated to the main city, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police.

The Taliban suffered heavy losses in the fighting, he added, but a senior security official who sought anonymity said at least 10 security forces were killed and 16 others captured by the Taliban.—Reuters

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