Middle East News

Afghan Security Forces Fighting to Retake Kunduz From the Taliban

Kunduz. Image: Flickr/Afghanistan Matters

The Afghan military launched an operation to retake control of the northern city of Kunduz, officials said Tuesday.

U.S. and Afghan forces carried out at least one joint airstrike on the city early Tuesday. TOLO News reported 20 militants were killed in the strikes. A TOLO reporter told Grasswire the agency is unable to confirm the number of civilian casualties or the extent of their injuries.

Officials said Tuesday they had retaken control of the city jail, police headquarters and other government buildings. The National Directorate of Security said Mawlawi Salam, the Taliban Shadow Governor of Kunduz, his deputy and 15 others were killed in a “precision airstrike” coordinated with NATO forces. The Taliban denied that claim.

On Monday, Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi told The Associated Press that the city had “collapsed into the hands of the Taliban.”

Lieutenant General Murad Ali Murad, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army, said Monday that militants were entrenched in homes, forcing security forces to pull back to limit civilian casualties.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said Monday its Kunduz hospital had received eight bodies. On Tuesday MSF said they had treated more than 170 patients, most with gunshot injuries.

Kunduz is the fifth largest city in Afghanistan and the capital of the province of the same name; it is the largest city to be taken by the Taliban since 2001.

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