Around 100 Afghan soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighbouring Turkmenistan during a weeklong battle with the Taliban, officials said Sunday.
Jamshid Shahabi, the provincial governor's spokesman, said 16 soldiers have been killed and 20 wounded during the ongoing battle in the Bala Murghab district, in which the military carried out airstrikes and dispatched reinforcements.
He said a number of soldiers tried to flee, without providing an exact figure.
Shahabi said more than 40 insurgents were killed in the fighting.
Officials said the fighting had largely subsided by Sunday, with sporadic clashes breaking out in remote areas.
Nazari provided a higher toll, saying 50 soldiers were killed and around 100 others were missing.
He said hundreds of local residents have gathered in front of the governor's office to express their concerns about security in the province.
He said Bala Murghab is almost completely controlled by the Taliban, with Afghan forces confined to the district headquarters.
The Taliban have been carrying out near-daily attacks across Afghanistan, mainly targeting the government and Afghan security forces and causing staggering casualties.
The attacks have continued despite stepped-up US efforts to negotiate an end to the 17-year war, America's longest.
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