Power has been cut in the area and families are being evacuated, local media report.
In the capital, police said at three Taliban fighters were killed and seven policemen wounded in a 10-hour gun battle that began late on Monday after insurgents attacked a residential area close to the Russian embassy.
The city of 300,000, which was the last stronghold of the Taliban before the group’s ouster in 2001, holds symbolic importance to the insurgency and has come under threat multiple times this year. The demoralized Afghan army put up a slow and halting response, but eventually counterattacked, and retook the city, although there is continued fighting.
The explosion on Monday was followed by gunfire between the militants and Afghan security forces.
“Unfortunately, the Taliban have chose to remain in the city and fight from within, knowingly putting civilians at significant risk of harm”, the general told reporters in Washington.
The group said Afghan and coalition troops were fully aware of the exact location of the hospital, having been given Global Positioning System co-ordinates of the facility, which had been providing care for four years.
Campbell declined to comment on whether the United States had called a pause to airstrikes, but said he had not suspended “train, advise, and assist” support from USA forces to the Afghans.
Akhund, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kunduz, was released three years later with most of the other detainees so that they could persuade Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader, to engage in peace talks with the US and Afghan governments.
Last week, USA forces may have mistakenly bombed a trauma hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, in Afghanistan’s north, killing at least 19 people and injuring many more.
Campbell said USA forces were not under direct fire in the incident and the airstrike had not been called on their behalf, contrary to previous statements from the US military.
There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. If doubts arose over the credibility of the U.S. or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation investigations, there might be calls for a United Nations probe.
James Ross says global humanitarian law permits hospitals to engage with combatants in a few circumstances.
“Their description of the attack keeps changing – from collateral damage, to a tragic incident, to now attempting to pass responsibility to the Afghanistan government”, said MSF General Director Christopher Stokes.
He said the discrepancies in the USA and Afghan accounts of what happened, point to the critical need for a full transparent independent investigation.