An Afghan official says Taliban fighters have taken over a district of northern Takhar province and intense gun battles are going on as government forces fight to retake it.

Sonatullah Taimor, spokesman for the provincial governor said Wednesday the insurgents used heavy and light weapons in the battle for Darqad, which borders Tajikistan.

He says six Afghan security forces were killed in the fighting.

The Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid emailed media organizations to say the battle for Darqad began at dawn Wednesday. Two militants were killed, he said, as the insurgents captured government buildings including police headquarters.

Officials says Taliban have joined with other insurgents such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and are spreading across the north with the aim of infiltrating Central Asian states.