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Jul 23, 4:36 AM EDT

Officials: Taliban overrun 2 districts in as many days



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Officials: Taliban overrun 2 districts in as many days

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban fighters overran a second district headquarters in as many days on Sunday, this one in western Ghor province, the provincial police chief said.

At least eight police were killed in separate battles against Taliban militants, who have stepped up their attacks in the north and west of the country laying siege to district headquarters, said Mohammad Mustafa Moseni.

Moseni said the Taliban launched four assaults on Ghor's Taywara district headquarters early Sunday and "we had no choice but to retreat." He said police have taken up positions about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the district headquarters while they wait for reinforcements to launch a counterattack.

The Taliban, in a statement to the media, announced the capture of Taywara district headquarters. The statement, however, said 46 Afghan government security forces were killed. There was no way to independently verify either death toll.

In northern Faryab province's Lawlash district two police were killed late Saturday night when Taliban using the cover of darkness to attack the district headquarters, setting fire to the police headquarters buildings, Abdul Karim Yourish, provincial police chief spokesman, said Sunday.

Government offices as well as the police headquarters were located inside the compound, he said.

In recent days, Taliban have launched dozens of attacks in northern Afghanistan, temporarily closing a key highway between the capital Kabul and northern Afghanistan. The attacks reflect the Taliban's efforts to apply pressure on government troops and police across the country and not just in their strongholds in the south and east of Afghanistan.

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