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Taliban Attack Kills Dozens Of Soldiers And Police, Even As Peace Talks Continue

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Taliban fighters stormed an army post in northern Kunduz province early Tuesday, setting off a clash that killed more than two dozen people — most of them soldiers, Afghan officials said.

The attack occurred on the outskirts of Kunduz City and set off a firefight between militants and security forces that lasted from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. local time, according to Pajhwok Afghan News, citing Deputy Chairman of Provincial Council Safiullah Amiri.

At least 23 soldiers and three police officers died, the Associated Press reports, citing Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council.

The violence was on the same day as a Taliban meeting with a group of Afghan politicians in Moscow, discussions that followed last month's optimistic talks between U.S. and Taliban representatives. But like the U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Qatar, the Moscow meeting did not include Afghanistan's central government, led by President Ashraf Ghani.

Taliban insurgents also attacked a police checkpoint in Baghlan province Monday night, Tolo news reports. At least 10 police officers, including the outpost's commander, reportedly died in that assault.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.