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Taliban militants have captured the administrative headquarters of an Afghan district near the border with Pakistan.

Nuristan governor Jamaludin Badr was quoted as saying insurgents surrounded Barg-e Matal district in Nuristan Province on May 28, battling with local security forces.

"Since the district headquarters is inside the village in a crowded location we had to make a tactical retreat to avoid casualties to civilians" in nearby houses,” Badr said.

The fate of police officers guarding the administrative compound -- which houses government, police, and judicial offices -- was unclear.

Qasim Payman, the provincial police chief, said hundreds of armed villagers, known as Lashkar-i-Qaomi (the army of tribes) had joined forces with police during the battle.

Reuters quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as confirming the group now controlled the district.

Both sides claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on their opponents, but independent verification was impossible.

compiled from agency reports