“The Taliban have taken the city but our forces are still putting up resistance in some areas”, Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told AFP news agency, adding that the defenders were still waiting for reinforcements from Kabul.
The insurgents raised the white Taliban banner over the central square and freed hundreds of fellow militants from the local jail, in a major setback for Afghan forces who abandoned a provincial headquarters for the first time since 2001.
He added that 20 Taliban fighters had been killed and three Afghan police wounded in the clashes.
“As fighting rages in Kunduz, all sides must ensure that civilians and civilian objects are protected according to global humanitarian law, which governs all parties to an armed conflict”, Amnesty worldwide Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq stated in the release.
“Security forces in Kunduz were prepared for an attack, but not one of this size and not one that was coordinated in 10 different locations at the same time”, Sediqqi told the Associated Press earlier Monday.
As noted in this history by the Afghan Analysts Network, Kunduz city and the surrounding province by the same name was the frequent site of atrocities, looting and betrayal between 1992 and 2001, as the Taliban seized control of much of Afghanistan.
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 province has been witnessing fighting between security forces and militants since April. It is now not known if there are any American soldiers near Kunduz or whether they intend to take part in the battle.
“Insurgents closed off the only four access points into the city – effectively preventing troops from entering and civilians from fleeing”.
The U.S. military, which continues to fly warplanes and drones over Afghanistan, did not conduct any airstrikes near Kunduz on Monday, a spokeswoman for the military coalition here said.
An Afghan official said on Monday that hundreds of Taliban fighters launched an early morning attack on a strategic northern city, storming it from several directions.
“There were enough troops inside Kunduz city, but the insurgents used some route deemed not that sensitive”, Murad told a news briefing late on Monday.
Taliban fighters take their positions after occupying a police…
On a post made from his official twitter account, Majahid said “The mujahideen do not intend to harm any Kunduz residents”.
“The Taliban claimed to have seized a 200-bed hospital, posting photos to social media that they claimed proved their control of the facility”.
Afghan forces have been fighting largely alone since US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concluded their combat mission at the end of previous year, shifting to a training and advising capacity.
The Taliban forces were reportedly heavily outnumbered, but were able to push Afghan security forces out of the stronghold, forcing them to retreat to the airport.
Hussain Daoudi, an eyewitness in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, says he can hear “the sound of bullets and blasts nearly everywhere in the city” after the Taliban launched a major assault.