Ghani said the “good news” from Kunduz, “should not make us complacent”.
Appearing alongside Ghani, Afghan Interior Minister Noor-ul-Haq Ulumi praised the performance of Afghan security forces. In the weeks that have followed, the side that has opposed talks and negotiations with the government seems to have swelled, with the Taliban stepping up the violence. “We have to clear all the surrounding areas and open transport links so people can come and go”, he said. The insurgents still have a presence in various parts of the city, he tells a press conference. “We don’t know what is going on exactly…”
But he told reporters: “The United States, with their puppets, have been bombing Kunduz city”. “We thank God we had no fatalities”, he said.
Horia Mosadiq, an Afghanistan researcher for Amnesty worldwide in London, said she has received reports that shelters, hospitals, homes and offices have been attacked.
Hundreds of Afghan security forces sent to reinforce tired colleagues were stuck in neighbouring Baghlan province as Taliban fighters blocked off roads with large stones and sandbags, a senior Afghan security official said.
The capture of the city by the Taleban, which began with a co-ordinated attack on Monday, took the government, military and intelligence agencies by surprise. “The war is ongoing”.
The significance of Kunduz lies in its strategic location on a crossroad that connects key regions of Afghanistan.
Dawlat Waziri, representative for the Ministry of Defense, said the Taliban had left Kunduz city and a freedom operation was in progress.
The US military, which maintains a small presence in the country, stepped up its support of its Afghan allies in the wake of the Taliban’s Kunduz offensive.
At least three USA airstrikes had targeted Taliban fighters near the city by early Wednesday.
It added that there had been no civilian casualties. “Dead Taliban are in the city, yet there are still (activists) in a few administration structures battling Afghan forces”.
An Afghan security vehicle advances towards the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan September 30, 2015.
MSF Afghanistan communications director Kate Stegeman reported that 40 people had died.
Kunduz is the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since the hardline Islamist movement was toppled from power in 2001. He did not say how many coalition advisers participated in the battle.
One of the protesters, Foruzan Haydari, a 23-year-old student, says the people of Afghanistan “are not happy with this government, every day there is fighting”.
Meanwhile, Cook added that Afghanistan has deployed thousands of military personnel to retake the city.
An unknown number of Taliban remained in Kunduz city.
Information from inside the city remained limited.
While they fought to save lives, competing narratives circulated over who was winning Kunduz.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Majahid urged Kunduz residents to stay indoors. He spoke over the phone to the AP.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid acknowledged on Twitter that government forces had retaken the city earlier Thursday but claimed that the Taliban had since regained ground. The militant group posted an audio interview apparently with the governor in which he dismissed reports about his death, according to the Taliban Voice of Jihad Online. Campbell is scheduled to testify to Congress next week, including on the effectiveness of Afghan forces after a tough summer of fighting.
‘The Taliban suffered heavy casualties last night. They are also reported to have looted banks during their time in control of the city.
Coalition special forces including USA troops, while advising Afghan troops operating in the vicinity of the Kunduz airport, “encountered an insurgent threat” at about 1am yesterday, according to a statement from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. He said he could hear firefights and explosions.