KABUL - Officials in Afghanistan said Taliban insurgents have attacked an army base in the northern Balkh province, killing at least seven Afghan soldiers and wounding six others. The Ministry of Defence in Kabul said Tuesday the overnight “enemy” assault targeted a base in the Dawlat Abad district that was being jointly manned by the Afghan army and personnel of the national intelligence agency. The district chief, Mohammad Yousaf, is reported to confirm, however, the Taliban attack killed at least 15 Afghan forces. In a written statement, Tal ban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed its fighters killed 20 Afghan security forces and captured three others before overrunning the base and seizing military equipment there. Such insurgent claims are often inflated. Separately, Taliban insurgents ambushed a policy convoy early Tuesday in the northeastern Kapisa province, killing a district police commander and his security guard, local officials said. On Monday, the Taliban detonated a roadside bomb near a joint US and Afghan military convoy in the volatile northern Kunduz province. The blast killed an American soldier and his Afghan partner. The latest US fatality brought the number of American service members killed in Afghanistan this year to at least 19.

The Taliban control or contest about half of Afghanistan and continue to plot attacks on local and US-led foreign troops in the country. Insurgent attacks have killed some 50,000 Afghan security forces since late 2014, according to Afghan officials.

The United States has engaged the Taliban in peace talks and has pressed the insurgents to reduce violence to find a negotiated settlement to the 18-year-old Afghan war, the longest conflict involving the United States.