Kunduz, capital of the province of the same name, is one of Afghanistan’s wealthiest cities.
“So far 20 Taliban insurgents were killed in the fighting in different parts of Kunduz, and four Afghan security forces were confirmed wounded”.
A western security adviser living in the city said the Taliban had captured Zakhel and Ali Khel villages on the vital highway leading south, connecting the city to Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif through Aliabad district.
Kunduz // The Taliban largely seized a major Afghan city on Monday, storming government compounds and sending panicked residents fleeing, as the militants breached a provincial capital for the first time since being ousted from power in 2001.
Kunduz, about 240 kilometres north of Kabul, has twice come under attack by the Taliban this year in attempts to regain control of one of the country’s key agricultural centres. The central government has left their forces with no other option but to take back the city from the Taliban army.
Earlier, deputy presidential spokesman, Zafar Hashemi, had called the situation “fluid”, saying Ghani was “in constant contact with the security and defense leadership to provide them with guidance”. He added that the local headquarters of the National Directorate of Security, the country’s main intelligence agency, had been set on fire, and prisoners had been released from the city jail.
The Taliban has linked up with other insurgent groups and has launched a number of attacks in Kunduz province since April, notes BBC.
“As fighting rages in Kunduz, all sides must ensure that civilians and civilian objects are protected according to global humanitarian law”, Amnesty worldwide said in a statement.
He also said the Taliban had made the biggest gains in the city’s south-west, where a few local communities, already disenchanted with the government, had picked up weapons and joined the insurgents.
He says Taliban gunmen have occupied a number of government buildings in the city, including a hospital and a courthouse.
The Taliban launched their spring offensive earlier this year with a major assault on Kunduz that also took government forces unawares and was repelled with the aid of reinforcements after days of heavy fighting.
The armed fighters have also reportedly taken control of a 200-bed hospital in the city following the raid, a Taliban spokesman and a police source told Reuters.
“Reinforcement has been sent and counter-operations to expel militants and ensure law and order in Kunduz city would soon begin, ” Danesh told reporters.
Yesterday 13 people were killed and 33 wounded at a volleyball match in the eastern province of Paktika.
“Kunduz, one of the largest cities in northern Afghanistan, lies on a strategically and economically important trade route close to the border with Tajikistan”.
The Kunduz assault highlights the resilience of the Taliban following the revelation earlier this year that their reclusive longtime leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, died two years ago.