Afghan security force members stand at a security checkpoint in Kunduz, Afghanistan, May 21, 2020. Afghan security forces have beefed up security ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Photo by Ajmal Kakar/Xinhua)
Afghan security force members stand at a security checkpoint in Kunduz, Afghanistan, May 21, 2020. Afghan security forces have beefed up security ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. (Photo by Ajmal Kakar/Xinhua)

Ten pro-government local militiamen and seven Taliban militants were killed in pre-dawn clashes in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province on Thursday, a provincial government spokesman confirmed.

“Taliban attacked a security checkpoint of pro-government tribal militiamen, known as local uprising fighters, in surrounding areas of Khwaja Bahawoddin district early Thursday. The clashes lasted for more than two hours, leaving the casualties,” spokesman Jawad Hijri told Xinhua.

Local uprising fighters, who are receiving support from Afghan security agencies, provide security and protect remote villages and districts around the country where army and police have limited presence.

Seven militiamen and several militants were wounded in the fighting in the region, 245 km north of the county’s capital Kabul.

Taliban’s so-called Red Unit or Special Force members were involved in the attack in the province, which has been the scene of clashes and fighting for long, according to local villagers.

Violence still lingers in the war-torn country after a peace deal was signed between the United States and Taliban in Qatar in February, which paved the way for a phased U.S. force withdrawal.

According to the agreement, some 10,000 U.S. and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan will withdraw by July next year.

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