The attack occurred in the Shora Khak district of Kunduz Province on February 16, days after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said an agreement with the Taliban was in place for a “conditions-based” weeklong reduction in violence.
“Unfortunately, five army soldiers were martyred and three wounded,” the Afghan Defense Ministry said on February 17. There were also casualties among the Taliban, the ministry said.
Enhamuddin Rahmani, a spokesman for Kunduz police, said the fighting lasted several hours and both sides suffered casualties.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed on Twitter that the militants killed 19 security forces in the attack and destroyed four armored personnel carriers, seizing a large amount of weapons and other military equipment.
Separately, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told a meeting of ministers on February 17 that the Taliban has agreed to a seven-day reduction of violence ahead of a peace deal with the United States that was “finalized” and may be signed as soon as February 29.
It was not immediately clear when the reduction in violence was scheduled to begin.
In Doha, the capital of Qatar, a member of a Taliban delegation told a local news agency that the U.S.-Taliban talks had ended “successfully” with an agreement that will be released before the end of the month.