Afghan security forces slays 27 Taliban militants

At least six people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in Kunduz

At least six people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in Kunduz

At least six people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in Afghanistan's northern city of Kunduz in an assault by Taliban fighters, according to a local official.

Taliban, according to the government statement, launched multi-pronged offensive with two vehicle bombs followed by gunfight on Friday night to capture Shirzad district, but the security forces' "sharp reaction forced the insurgents to retreat".

On Friday, the Taliban launched the annual spring offensives with the declared intention of overrunning large areas, including townships.

Kabul says the security plan, called Al-Khalid, followed recent Taliban attacks and aims at protecting government targets and Afghan civilians from such attacks.

Peace talks are due to resume in Doha next week between USA envoy Khalilzad and Taliban officials. "Many Talibs including fighters and some leaders oppose this announcement", he said.

A spokesman of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Dave Butler, said the coalition forces will continue to support the Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban as the group has chosen violence despite an "amazing" opportunity forces.

A roadside bomb wounded four Romanian soldiers Saturday in southern Afghanistan as fierce fighting between pro-government forces and Taliban insurgents elsewhere in the country killed dozens of people, officials said.

In a series of tweets released hours after the Taliban announced a new spring offensive, the U.S. chief peace negotiator also urged Pakistan and Qatar to condemn the Taliban's announcement, arguing that an increase in violence will only hurt the peace process that these two states were backing.

The Taliban controls or contests about half of Afghan territory, according to USA military assessments. This is meant to facilitate ongoing US-Taliban peace talks.

The violence on April 13 comes as the United States continues to push for a peace settlement with the Taliban, with a new round of talks scheduled later this month in Qatar.

The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a "puppet" of the West, and the militants have insisted that government officials are attending only in a "personal capacity".

The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though in reality fighting in the last winter has continued unabated.

But on Monday three US Marines were killed in a Taliban blast at Bagram air base north of the city, and authorities in the capital are on high alert for new attacks.

"The requested exemption is exclusively for travels required for participation in peace and reconciliation discussions", the UN Security Council said.