Taliban fighters stormed an army post in northern Kunduz province early Tuesday, setting off a clash that killed at least 26 people — most of them soldiers, Afghan officials said.

The attack struck at the outskirts of Kunduz City, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. It set off a firefight between militants and security forces that lasted from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., the outlet reports, citing Deputy Chairman of Provincial Council Safiullah Amiri.

At least 23 soldiers and three police officers died, the Associated Press reports, citing Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council.

The violence comes on the same day the Taliban is meeting with a group of Afghan politicians in Moscow, for discussions that follow U.S. officials' optimistic statements about an earlier round of peace talks. But like the U.S.-led talks in Qatar, the Moscow talks do not include Afghanistan's central government, led by President Ashraf Ghani.

Taliban insurgents also attacked a police check-point in the Baghlan province Monday night, Tolo news reports. At least 10 police officers, including the outpost's commander, reportedly died in that attack.

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