Taliban Seize District in Kunduz

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Taliban seized a district on Saturday in the northeastern Kunduz province, where the insurgents briefly overran the provincial capital last year before being driven out by a counteroffensive, an official said.

Mohammadullah Bahej, spokesman for the provincial police chief, said the insurgents launched attacks from different directions on the district headquarters in Khan Abad. He says security forces are planning an operation to retake the area.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the fighters captured the entire district along with weapons and military vehicles.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the Kunduz provincial council, said hundreds of civilians have fled the fighting and warned that "if the central government does not pay attention to Kunduz, the Taliban will overrun Kunduz city as they did last year."

Afghan security forces are currently battling the Taliban in at least 15 of the country's 34 provinces, according to the Defense Ministry. In Kunduz the insurgents are threatening areas near the provincial capital of the same name.

The Taliban seized a district in the northern Baghlan province last week, and heavy fighting is underway in the southern Helmand and eastern Nangarhar provinces.

In the capital, meanwhile, a soldier was killed early Saturday by a sticky bomb placed on his vehicle, Kabul police said.