Taliban take key Afghan district in south; 9 killed in north

KABUL: Afghan officials say the Taliban have captured a key district in southern Helmand province while in the country's north, an Afghan officer turned his rifle on sleeping colleagues, killing nine policemen.

The fall of Sangin district, once considered the deadliest battlefield for British and US troops in Afghanistan, comes amid the insurgents' year-long push to expand their footprint in the Taliban heartland of Helmand.

Sangin police chief Mohammad Rasoul says Taliban fighters overran the district center early on Thursday morning.

In northern Kunduz province, police spokesman Mafuz Akbari says the insider attack on Thursday that claimed the lives on nine policemen took place at a security post.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan forces have come under intensified pressure by insurgents in both Helmand and Kunduz.