KABUL - Taliban fighters seized a district in Afghanistan's remote northern province of Badakhshan after several days of fierce fighting, officials said on Friday, as the insurgents pushed forward their annual spring offensive launched last month.
Fighting across Afghanistan has picked up in recent weeks with the return of warmer weather, putting government forces under pressure in several areas, underlining the risk to parliamentary and district council elections due in October.
Thursday night's loss of Kohistan, north of Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan, came after security forces failed to receive supplies or reinforcements and pulled out of district police headquarters, provincial police spokesman Sanaullah Rohani said.
A number of security posts in Teshkan district, to the south of Fayzabad, were also abandoned to the insurgents, who were stepping up pressure in the area, he said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 15 members of the security forces had been killed and 14 wounded with three pickup trucks and a large number of weapons seized, while two Taliban fighters were killed.