KABUL: The Taliban have seized a district from Afghan government forces on the outskirts of Kabul, ahead of a three-day ceasefire agreed between the warring sides, officials said. Nerkh district is around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Afghan capital in neighbouring Wardak province, which has long been used by militants as a gateway to reach the city and launch deadly attacks. “Security and defence forces made a tactical retreat from the police headquarters of Nerkh district,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told AFP. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said the insurgents had captured the area on Tuesday. The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said it would launch an offensive to win back the district. Large swathes of Wardak and neighbouring Logar province have been controlled or contested for years by Taliban fighters and have served as a strategic staging ground for militants hoping to enter Kabul. Taliban fighters have been increasingly encircling major Afghan urban centres, spurring speculation the militants are waiting for the Americans to withdraw before launching all-out assaults on the country’s cities. It comes after the Taliban and Afghan government agreed to observe a three-day ceasefire to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday starting on Thursday.