An overnight Taliban attack on checkpoints in northern Afghanistan killed 22 troops, after some 100 Afghan forces fled heavy fighting in the country’s west in recent days and tried to cross into neighbouring Turkmenistan, officials said on Sunday.

The Taliban launched the assault late on Saturday against checkpoints manned by police and pro-government forces in Qaisar district, setting off a fierce gun battle that lasted into Sunday morning said Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, the head of provincial council in the northern Faryab province.

The army sent in reinforcements, who were among those killed. Rahmani said another 20 Afghan forces were wounded in the attack.

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“The Taliban have gained control of more areas in the district” after stepping up attacks in recent weeks, Rahmani said,

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