The Taliban declared the start of their annual spring offensive on Friday, but the announcement has little meaning as the insurgents have managed to keep up a steady tempo of attacks even during the harsh winter months in recent years.
Nangarhar provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said two Afghan troops had been killed, along with 27 Taliban fighters.
Heavy fighting has been going on for weeks but the announcement of the spring offensive while peace talks were due was a blow to any hopes of a quick agreement and was criticized as "reckless" by USA special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
The violence on April 13 comes as the United States continues to push for a peace settlement with the Taliban, with a new round of talks scheduled later this month in Qatar. The call for more fighting will not advance peace efforts.
"Our jihadi obligation has not yet ended", the Taliban said.
It is expected that the Taliban, politicians and representatives of the Afghan government will be in Doha from April. 19 to 21, in what would be the first meeting between representatives of the government and the insurgents since the USA and the Taliban began peace talks past year.
"The continuation of war is no one's interest", it said.
The statement says that by announcing offensives, the Taliban has often targeted "innocent people in Afghanistan" while they have been dictated by "strangers" and that they have used civilian houses as a shield.
Mr Khalilzad leads the U.S. team in talks with the Taliban that are held in Doha, Qatar, with Pakistan's support, which responded positively to a U.S. request to facilitate the talks. The US is hoping to seal a draft agreement on counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire, before Afghan voters go to the polls in July.
Nangarhar Governor Shahmahmood Miakhel said Afghan forces repelled the attack after reinforcements arrived.
The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a "puppet" of the West, and the militants have insisted that government officials are attending only in a "personal capacity".
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement in which he said that "tens of soldiers and police were killed and injured".
Fed up with the $45 billion annual price tag and what his military leaders termed a "stalemate", US President Donald Trump a year ago chose to slash the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
While Western forces quickly ousted the group in late 2001, the insurgents went on to regroup and over the years have reclaimed much of Afghanistan, primarily in rural areas.