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Afghan forces repel Taliban attack in Kandahar

July 9 (UPI) -- Afghan government officials said Friday they repelled an attack by the Taliban on the country's second-largest city, Kandahar, on Friday.

Sources told TOLO News that Taliban forces took control of at least two security outposts in District 7. Officials, though, said government forces were able to prevent the Taliban from advancing further into the area.

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"The situation is under control, there are no worries," Kandahar police Cmdr. Sam Ehsas told TOLO. "The people should be assured that their brave sons will defend them."

The New York Times reported that the Taliban has captured districts surrounding the city in recent weeks, but entered the city itself for the first time Friday. The Afghan air force launched strikes on Taliban-controlled areas outside the city.

The Taliban began launching attacks across the country and capturing territory on May 1, when U.S. forces began withdrawing from the country.

TOLO News said security forces were also fighting Taliban militants in Kunduz, Baghlan, Herat, Ghazni, Faryab and Maidan Wardak provinces.

"If the government does not bring a systematic reform in the strategy, programs and the leadership of the war, if the people do not get mobilized behind the government, I think the Taliban will be emboldened further," MP Aref Rahmani said.

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Speaking Thursday to reporters, U.S. President Joe Biden said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan should be completed by Aug. 31.

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