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Afghanistan

Taliban takes over eastern Afghanistan district

Reuters

The Taliban has taken control of the eastern Afghanistan district of Bargi Matal and captured its administrative headquarters, according to local police. It came after several days of fighting in the area, which is on the Pakistan border. Taliban fighters surrounded the area and engaged police in a gun battle.

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Police chief Qasim Payman told Reuters hundreds of armed villagers joined the police to try and push the Taliban back. He said the police had made a "tactical retreat".

Border police stayed behind to continue fighting, but an army border police commander said many police responsible for protecting the area have been missing since Friday.

A Taliban spokesman says police and civilians sustained heavy casualties.

In October 2009, Taliban fighters captured Kamdesh, which is also in Nuristan province. US forces have withdrawn from Nuristan province as part of a new policy of focusing on populated areas.

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