Taliban militants say they have seized a 200-bed hospital in the northern Kunduz Province, shortly after launching a new assault against the capital city of the province, officials say.
On Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the militants had seized the hospital in the south of the city of Kunduz.
An unidentified Afghan official also confirmed that a government-run hospital had fallen to the hands of militants, without providing further details.
This came shortly after Afghan police said the militants had stormed Kunduz after entering the province from three different directions.
Officials say fighting is still ongoing in a number of locations in the area.
“Right now heavy fighting is ongoing in Khanabad, Chardara and at Imam Saheb, the main entrances to the city,” Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for Kunduz police, said.
He added that at least 20 militants and an unconfirmed number of Afghan security forces had been killed in the fighting.
Kunduz Province is strategic as it is located on a crossroad that connects key regions of the country. The province has been witnessing fighting between security forces and militants since April.
Analysts say the fall of the provincial capital city to Taliban militants would amount to a major setback for Afghan forces.
Afghanistan continues to face insecurity 14 years after the US and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. Although the Taliban were removed from power as a result of the invasion, many areas in the country are still threatened by insecurity.