“Three Afghan Border Police personnel were killed and eight were wounded while 85 IS militants were killed following the fierce clashes and the ensuing airstrikes in the district near the border with Pakistan”, a provincial security source said.
Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told Reuters news agency: “Heavy fighting is ongoing in Khanabad, Chardara and at Imam Sahed, the main entrances to the city”.
This is the first time that IS fighters engaged with Afghan security forces since they made gains in the province.
Special forces of the Afghan police and army were on their way from neighbouring Balkh province to help defend Kunduz, a Balkh police commander said.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit a record high in the first half of 2015, a United Nations report said last month, as Afghan forces struggle to contain the expanding conflict without North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops.
Among the prominent ISIS fighters, the report singled out Abdul Rauf Khadem, a former Taliban adviser to Mullah Omar, who visited Iraq in October 2014 and has since formed his own group in Helmand and Farah provinces.
On Sunday, a bomb attack on a sports ground in Paktika left nine dead and dozens injured.
The insurgents entered the city during an early morning assault, storming the regional hospital and clashing with security forces at the nearby university.
Kunduz province is on a strategic crossroads connecting the four points of Afghanistan.
The State Department official said the potential IS threat in Afghanistan was something that the USA was factoring into how it engaged with the country and supported Afghanistan’s efforts to improve security and stability. “And if the government of Afghanistan desired that peace talks must be resumed, yes they would be resumed soon”, Aziz said. It was the second such attack on a volleyball game this year.
Reportedly filmed in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar in June, the “horrific” footage apparently shows ISIS fighters brutally murdering a group of blindfolded tribal elders and villagers.
Most local officials and foreign NGO workers sought refuge in the airport, using the one road that the Taliban had not yet blocked.