U.S., Taliban near Afghanistan deal, fighting intensifies in north

U.S., Taliban near Afghanistan deal, fighting intensifies in north
# 02 September 2019 02:44 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. and Taliban negotiators are close to a deal that would open the way for peace in Afghanistan, a top U.S. official said on Sunday, as the insurgents followed their weekend assault on the strategic center of Kunduz by attacking a second northern city, APA reports quoting Reuters

The interior ministry said in a statement on Sunday that 20 Afghan security force members and five civilians were killed, and at least 85 civilians were injured in Kunduz city during clashes with the Taliban fighters.

While Kunduz was calm after clearance operations that had driven out insurgents, interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, fighters had taken up positions in two areas of Pul-e Khumri and were battling Afghan security forces.

Afghan forces killed five gunmen and arrested two militants during the clearance operation in Pul-e-Khumri city, Rahimi said.

Local officials and residents said the city was locked down with Taliban fighters occupying positions around one of the main entry points into the center and cutting the main highway connecting Kabul with the north.

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