Afghan forces retake northern district from Taliban

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan forces backed by air strikes have retaken a district in the northern province of Badakhshan that was seized last week by Taliban insurgents, officials said, as fighting continued across Afghanistan.

Provincial police spokesman Sanaullah Rohani said Kohistan district, which fell to the insurgents on Thursday, was retaken by army and police forces backed by air support on Saturday. Taliban fighters were also pushed back in Teshkan district, where they had taken a number of checkpoints.

"The Taliban suffered heavy casualties, but there is no updated information on the exact number as the area is remote and the telecommunication system weak," he said.

With the Taliban's annual spring offensive well under way, there was violence in several parts of the country.

Late on Saturday, a district governor in Paktia province, on the border with Pakistan, was among five people wounded in a car bomb explosion, Abdullah Hasrat, spokesman for the Paktia provincial governor said.

Also on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives in an attack on a house belonging to Kandahar police chief Abdul Razeq in Spin Boldak on the border with Pakistan.

Razeq, who has a fearsome reputation fighting the Taliban and who has survived dozens of assassination attempts, was not harmed in the attack, which he confirmed had taken place.

(Reporting by Qadir Sediqi and Sayed Sarwar Amani in KANDAHAR; Editing by James Mackenzie and Nick Macfie)