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By Najeebullah Hazem and Sardar Razmal, (TNS)

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — Afghan troops retook control of the northeastern district of Yamgan Sunday after three weeks of clashes with Taliban rebels, as rebels in the north took a key district in Kunduz province, officials said.

The rebels had been in control of the Yamgan district in the northeastern province of Badakhshan since June 6, but authorities said Sunday they were finally able to push them out.

“The security forces were tactically fighting against the rebels in order to prevent civilian casualties,” said General Baba Jan, the police chief for Badakhshan.

“We succeeded to retake the bulk of the district this morning.”

Yamgan is sparsely populated and has rarely been a focus of combat, although other districts in Badakhshan have been targeted in Taliban attacks.

“We have deployed enough forces in the district and a clearance operation is ongoing to wipe up the area from insurgent threats,” Baba Jan said.

Taliban forces also confirmed that they have lost most of the district. Nonetheless, they said they still control parts of it.

Attacks on civilians and security forces have intensified since the insurgents announced their summer offensive in April.

Meanwhile, Afghan troops launched a counteroffensive against Taliban rebels in the Chahar Dara district of northern province of Kunduz, which fell into rebels’ hand on Saturday.

Chahar Dara district has been a foothold of Taliban fighters in the past few years, especially for its Uzbek and Chechen fighters.

(c)2015 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Afghan security forces attend an operation with their military vehicles against the Taliban in the Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Afghan security forces on Sunday launched an operation to free a district in the northern province of Kunduz earlier seized by Taliban militants, an army source said. (Ajmal/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

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