Taliban makes further gains in Afghanistan, capture two districts in Ghor, Faryab

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The Associated Press reported the Taliban launched four assaults on the district headquarters early Sunday, pushing forces from the compound. According to Abdul Karim Youresh, spokesman for the provincial police headquarters, security forces took a strategic retreat to the nearby village of Khair Abad.

The district, laying in north of provincial capital Lashkar Gah city, has been the scene of heavy clashes between security forces and Taliban since early Thursday after Taliban attacked security checkpoints with suicide auto bombs and heavy weapons.

The civilians were shot dead by the Taliban insurgents on Saturday.

Taliban militants who killed 35 local police personnel in Tagab district of the northern Badakhshan province on Friday have also stepped up activities in parts of Baghlan, Sari Pul, Balkh and the northern Jawzjan provinces. Bigzad said another 20 members of a local police force were missing following a firefight on July 21.

In Afghanistan, Taliban militants captured the headquarters of Taywara district in Ghor province on Sunday.

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Durrani said the police personnel fought back the attackers and six policemen were also injured during exchange of fire in the remote district.

Highways passing through insurgency-prone areas have become exceedingly unsafe, with the Taliban and other armed groups frequently kidnapping or killing travellers.

The Taliban-led insurgency has been on the rampage since late April when the Taliban launched its annual rebel offensive and intensified attacks across the country. It wasn't immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or whether they had escaped. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area made it impossible to independently verify. The area in which the fighting occurred is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and telephone contact is unsteady.

Security situation has been improving in Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban, over the past months as security forces have conducted search and cordon operations across the province, 450 km away from Kabul.

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