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Afghan Troops Recapture Remote District from Taliban

A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, center, and Afghan army commandos observe as a squad of commandos clear a compound in the Khogyani district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, March 20, 2014. (US Army photo by Spc. Connor Mendez)
A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, center, and Afghan army commandos observe as a squad of commandos clear a compound in the Khogyani district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, March 20, 2014. (US Army photo by Spc. Connor Mendez)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan troops on Friday recaptured a district in a remote province along the country's mountainous border with Pakistan, just a day after it fell to the Taliban following a deadly assault by the insurgents.

The fighting over Waygal district in eastern Nuristan province claimed the lives of 18 policemen and wounded 20, said Abdul Qauom, the provincial governor in Nuristan. The district was retaken by Afghan forces on Friday evening.

A statement from the Taliban said seven of their fighters died in the assault, which began on Thursday night.

Also on Thursday night, the Taliban attacked a police checkpoint in Khwaja Ghar district in northeastern Takhar province, killing three local policemen, said Sonatullah Timor, the spokesman for the Takhar provincial government. Seven Taliban fighters died in that attack, he said, adding that it was part of the Taliban push to infiltrate Khwaja Ghar.

Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban following the conclusion of the U.S. and NATO combat mission at the end of last year.

The Taliban launched their spring offensive in late April with attacks across a widespread area of the country in what appears to be a fresh strategy aimed at forcing the government to concentrate its efforts and assets on security — rather than on much-needed economic reforms.

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