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Afghan Officials: Taliban Capture District in East After Heavy Fighting

FILE - The scene of an attack is seen in Afghanistan's Paktia province, June 24, 2008.

Afghan officials say Taliban insurgents overran and captured a district in the country's east following heavy fighting with Afghan security forces that left several police and militants dead and many more wounded.

Officials told reporters Saturday that the militants captured Jani Khel district in eastern Paktia province. Authorities say security forces have since withdrawn from the area, which is a key transit route that includes links to neighboring Khost province and Pakistan.

Jani Khel district governor Abdul Rahman Solamal told Reuters, "Our district was surrounded by Taliban for almost five days. Hundreds of them attack[ed] our check post overnight."

He said if the district is not recaptured, the militants will have improved mobility, helping them undermine security in neighboring areas.

Intense fighting has also been taking place in northern and northeastern Afghan provinces of Baghlan, Takhar and Kunduz, where residents have lately faced critical shortages of power, water and essential commodities.

According to the United Nations, the Afghan war has already caused more civilian casualties in the first half of this year compared to the record numbers in 2015.