Afghan government forces reportedly retake Kunduz from Taliban

01/10/2015 12:55
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, October 1, 2015, Asia-Plus -- After days of bitter fighting, the Afghan government says its forces have retaken the major city of Kunduz from Taliban militants.

The government assault began overnight with fighters infiltrating the city and launching a series of simultaneous attacks from different positions, BBC reported on October 1.

Afghan special forces seized control of the city in an operation that began late Wednesday and were still clearing out Taliban fighters from some areas early Thursday, Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz police chief, was quoted by CNN as saying.

The U.S. military helped the Afghan forces during the operation through advisers on the ground and by conducting airstrikes, Hussaini said.

Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said on Twitter that Taliban insurgents suffered heavy casualties in the fighting.

Sediqqi told the AP that 200 Taliban fighters were killed in the operation and said an operation to “clear the city” of the last pockets of resistance was ongoing and could take some days.

Meanwhile, the Taliban has insisted it still controls large parts of the city.  “Mujahideen [Taliban fighters] are resisting in the city's security circle,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters, adding that the militant group still controlled most of the city and surrounding districts.

As many as 6,000 civilians are reported to have fled the city because of the violence, the United Nations said Wednesday.  “I am deeply concerned about the situation in Kunduz following the Taliban's attack on the city," said Nicholas Haysom, the UN special representative for Afghanistan. "The reports of extrajudicial executions, including of health care workers, abductions, denial of medical care and restrictions on movement out of the city are particularly disturbing."

We will recall that the Taliban overran the city on Monday in an embarrassing setback for the government.

Kunduz province has seen a number of attacks since April, with the Taliban joining forces with other insurgents.

Militant violence has increased across Afghanistan since the departure of most US and NATO forces last year.

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