Kabul, Afghanistan: The Taliban targeted an army checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least seven Afghan soldiers, the defense ministry and the insurgents said.
The ministry said in a statement that the “enemy" attack in northern Balkh province, in the district of Dawlat Abad, also wounded six other members of the security forces — three soldiers and three intelligence agents. An investigation was underway, the statement added.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying also that the insurgents captured four Afghan troops and seized weapons and ammunition form the checkpoint.
The Taliban now control or hold sway over practically half of Afghanistan but continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and U.S. forces, as well as government officials — even as they hold peace talks with a U.S. envoy tasked with negotiating an end to the 18-year conflict, America's longest war. Scores of Afghan civilians are also killed in the crossfire or by roadside bombs planted by militants.
On Monday, an American soldier was killed in combat in northern Kunduz province. The Taliban claimed they were behind a fatal roadside bombing that targeted American and Afghan forces in Kunduz.