Taliban fighters have taken over a district of a remote northern province of Afghanistan and intense gun battles are going on as government forces fight to retake it, officials said.
Sonatullah Taimor, spokesman for the governor of Takhar province, said the insurgents used heavy and light weapons in the battle for Darqad, which borders Tajikistan.
He said six Afghan security forces were killed in the fighting.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emailed media organisations to say the battle for Darqad began at dawn on Wednesday. He said two militants were killed as the insurgents captured government buildings including police headquarters.
Officials said the Taliban has joined with other insurgents such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and are spreading across the north with the aim of infiltrating Central Asian states.