İrem UZUN -TDO- The Taliban have attacked an army checkpoint in northern Afghanistan, killing at least seven Afghan soldiers, according to the defence ministry. The ministry said the fighters attacked a joint military base on Tuesday morning in the Dawlat Abad district of Balkh province near the border with Uzbekistan. The base was shared between the army and the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's intelligence agency.

In an official statement made by defence ministry, it is said that "As a result of this attack, seven Afghan army soldiers died and three others were wounded. Meanwhile, in this attack, three NDS staff were also injured".  Mohammad Yousuf, the district governor of Dawlatabad where the incident took place said, said dozens of Taliban insurgents targeted a checkpoint manned jointly by Afghan soldiers and intelligence agents, killing 15. From his Twitter account, 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. On Monday, Taliban fighters killed an American soldier in northern Kunduz province and posted photographs of a blood-soaked backpack and the identity card of an American soldier to prove it. Pentagon said the incident is under investigation.

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