KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Taliban militants after heavy fighting overran Qala-e-Zal district in the northern Kunduz province on Saturday, a local official said.
"Center of Qala-e-Zal district fell to the Taliban rebels this morning," head of Development Council in the restive district, Hajji Mohammad Hassan told Xinhua.
He also confirmed that district headquarters and police department had fallen to the Taliban militants at 10:00 a.m. local time Saturday.
Taliban militants launched multi-pronged offensives on Qala-e-Zal district on Friday morning and both sides are said to have suffered huge casualties.
Meanwhile, police spokesman in Kunduz province Masoudullah Akbari said the security forces "have made tactical retreat" and fierce fighting has been continuing in the area.
According to local observers, the fall of strategically important Qala-e-Zal district 80 km northwest of Kunduz provincial capital the Kunduz city would enable the Taliban militants to mount pressure on the neighboring Chardara and Imam Sahib districts to expand their grab.
Zabihullah Majahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in contact with media also claim the capture of Qala-e-Zal district, adding operations to consolidate positons have been continuing.