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Taliban militants take control of Afghan district

IANS | Kabul |

After days of fierce fighting Afghan Taliban militants on Tuesday took control of Jani Khil district in Paktia province, the media reported.

An official told Xinhua news agency that security forces retreated after "Taliban entered the centre of the district early today (Tuesday)".

Zabihullah Majahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said the militants took control of police headquarters in Jani Khil.

However, local officials denied this, saying heavy clashes were on between both sides near the district governor's compound.

"We still have a number of check posts in the centre of the district under our control," police chief Toryalai Abedyani said.

General Abdul Wasi Melad, commander of 203 Tander Military Corps in Paktia, said clashes were ongoing between security forces and insurgents over the past three days.

"At least 11 Taliban insurgents have been killed so far in the clashes and a Pakistani national was arrested by the security forces," Melad said.

The Interior Ministry in a statement denied the fall of Jani Khil district and stressed that the "defence forces are in commanding positions".

It noted that reinforcement had been sent to the district.

In the past few days, a number of districts have fallen to the banned militant outfit.

Two days ago, Taliban took control of Kohistan district in Faryab and Taywara district in Ghor province.