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US could slow Afghanistan withdrawal amid Taliban gains

The US military has said it could slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan in light of recent battlefield victories by the Taliban.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the deadline for a full withdrawal by 11 September was still in place, but the pace may change.

Pentagon officials said last week that the withdrawal is about half-way done.

Afghanistan has seen increasing violence as the US and Nato prepare to pull out their remaining troops.

Over the last month, the Taliban have intensified their attacks and gained control of more than 30 districts. The hardline Islamist group has also seized large quantities of military equipment, according to local media, and killed, wounded or captured dozens of troops.

Afghan government spokespeople have denied that the districts have fallen to the Taliban, saying they were evacuated in a "tactical withdrawal". It is unclear how many Taliban have been killed or wounded.

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