Balkh (Afghanistan): At least 11 policemen were killed and over a dozen more taken prisoner Tuesday when Taliban fighters stormed their headquarters in northern Afghanistan, officials said.
A column of more than 400 Taliban fighters on motorbikes attacked Shortepa district police headquarters in Balkh province in the early hours, triggering a lengthy gunfight, provincial spokesman Munir Farhad told AFP.
"Eleven policemen were killed in the attack. The Taliban also suffered heavy losses," he said.
Karim Khan, the Shortepa district chief, confirmed the toll and told AFP the Taliban had captured 13 policemen and set their headquarters ablaze before leaving the area.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying their fighters had overrun the district.
In a later statement, Balkh police said security forces had regained control of the district.
"The Taliban were only in control of the district for a few hours but were forced out of the district after commandos and more security forces were deployed," they said in a statement.
Local resident Samad Haris told AFP smoke could still be seen coming from the burned buildings on Tuesday evening, but said all Taliban fighters had left the area.
The attack comes days after millions of Afghans went to the polls to vote for their next president despite hundreds of Taliban bombings and small-scale attacks at polling stations.
Officials have praised Afghan security forces for preventing the Taliban from conducting any large-scale attacks on voting day.