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Official: Afghan forces take back city threatened by Taliban

Associated Press Associated Press 9/09/2016 By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press
An Afghan policeman travels in the back of a truck in Tirin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province southern of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The Taliban pushed into the capital of Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province on Thursday, triggering fierce clashes and sending all government officials fleeing from the city, an Afghan official said. (AP Photo) © The Associated Press An Afghan policeman travels in the back of a truck in Tirin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province southern of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The Taliban pushed into the capital of Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province on Thursday, triggering fierce clashes and sending all government officials fleeing from the city, an Afghan official said. (AP Photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan forces have retaken most of a southern provincial capital, a day after it was nearly overrun by the Taliban in fighting that claimed at least eight Afghan troops, officials said Friday.

After day-long heavy battles, the army and the police regained control of all strategic locations in Tirin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, said Mohammad Radmanish, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense,

Sporadic fighting was only underway Friday in the city's northeastern neighborhood, he added.

The Taliban pushed deep into Tirin Kot on Thursday, setting off fierce fighting. After hours of the onslaught, Kabul sent Afghan commandos and reinforcements to Tirin Kot, backed by U.S. airstrikes.

Radmanish said that more than 80 Taliban fighters were killed in the past 24 hours as Afghan forces repelled the insurgent attack. He did not provide a casualty toll for Afghan forces or civilians.

The Uruzgan provincial spokesman, Doost Mohammad Nayab, told the Associated Press on Friday that the Taliban have been pushed back and were now at a 5 kilometer- (3.1 mile-) distance from the city, thanks to the reinforcements from Kabul and the U.S. air support.

Nayab said that according to their figures, "around 100 Taliban fighters were killed" while the Afghans lost eight troops and had 10 wounded.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, insisted that the government claims of a Taliban retreat were inaccurate.

"We are still holding our positions," Ahmadi said, denying reports of high insurgent casualties. He said Taliban fighters had captured several Afghan policemen.

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Associated Press Writer Mirwais Khan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

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