An Afghan official says the Taliban have killed eight policemen and overran three security checkpoints in northern Takhar province.

Sunatullah Timor, the provincial spokesman, says the attack took place on Monday in the district of Darqad. He says the hours-long firefight also wounded three police officers and killed eight of the attackers.

Timor says the Taliban have cut off the districts of Darqad and Khuja Bhawedin. The government sent in reinforcements and launched a counter-attack.

The attack coincided with a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who from Kabul accused Russia of providing weapons to the Taliban for use against American-backed forces in Afghanistan — a charge Moscow denies.

Mattis' visit followed a Taliban raid on an Afghan base last week that killed over 100 soldiers and military personnel.