Taliban shadow governor for Kunduz likely killed in United States drone strike

Taliban militants seized control of Khan Abad district in Afghanistan's northern province of Kunduz on Saturday as sporadic clashes were continuing around the district center, officials said. "The district fell to the Taliban", said Hayatullah Amiri, the chief of the Khanabad district.

The fighters seized the district of Khanabad, which connects Kunduz to Takhar and other northern provinces, on Saturday morning, with heavy clashes reported in several other districts.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the Kunduz provincial council, said hundreds of civilians have escaped the fighting, warning that "if the central government does not pay attention to Kunduz, the Taliban will overrun Kunduz city as they did past year".

Aziz blamed the loss of Khanabad district on a lack of reinforcement of government troops.

Afghan security personnel prepare for combat during an ongoing battle with Taliban militants in the Charkhab area of Kunduz province on Saturday. "The security forces will soon kick the militants out from Khan Abad", another official said.

The move comes as the Taliban group has intensified attacks on Kunduz province and launched several attacks on key districts of the province during the past several months.

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Resident Abdul Satar told AFP: "The residents of (Khan Abad) are anxious about their lives and safety. People are fleeing their homes and they have left their shops", he said, adding that roads to neighboring provinces were closed.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the Kunduz provincial council confirmed that hundreds of residents have fled the fighting.

"Kunduz is now the most vulnerable province in the Afghan North".

"It seems like the morale of the Afghan National Forces is quite low in Kunduz province". Deaths from the conflict have reached their highest level since the United Nations began issuing its reports in 2009.

Larger Taliban offences have take place in neighbouring Baghlan province, as well as in the southern province of Helmand where the Taliban has encircled the provincial capital Lashkar Gah.

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