In August the Taliban seized the district of Musa Qala in Helmand and were only driven back by Afghan forces days later, after 24 US airstrikes.
The test facing the Afghan government now is not just whether it can quickly mount a counterattack and retake Kunduz, the northern city that fell to the Taliban on Monday, but whether it can prevent a nearby provincial capital from falling as well.
Overnight there was fighting for control of Kunduz airport, a few miles outside the city, before the Taliban retreated under fire.
“After we got reinforcement and started a massive operation inside Kunduz city Taliban could not resist and escaped”, he said.
He said the Taliban left the centre of the city, now under government control, on Tuesday night following a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air strike that decimated their ranks.
Abdullah said Afghan forces had been shouldering “a huge responsibility” in the past year since the withdrawal of the bulk of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The foreign secretary called for avoiding the “blame game” and counselled restraint when questioned about the statement made by Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in the Un General Assembly, in which he attempted to implicate Pakistan in Monday’s attack on the strategic Afghan city.
Mr. Abdullah, whose government has publicly pressed the U.S.to reconsider its drawdown of forces, said the assault underscores the need for American forces to stay in Afghanistan.
According to the reporters, air strikes had been launched by the USA military forces in the Kunduz province of Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the city.
About 9,800 US troops are in Afghanistan, and the top USA commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John F. Campbell, has given the administration several options for gradually reducing that number over the next 15 months, USA officials said.
The area was also heavily mined, and residents were beginning to flee.
The man said shops are closed, there is a citywide power blackout, and it is becoming hard to find food. “Restaurants and hotels are empty”.
“Kunduz looks like a ghost town”. The militants managed to sneak into the city during the recent Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, a busy season when many Afghans travel in and out of urban areas – despite the city being on high security alert.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has appointed Hamdullah Daneshi as the acting provincial governor of northern Kunduz province.
Nicholas Haysom, the head of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, said there were reports of ” extrajudicial executions, including of health-care workers, abductions, denial of medical care and restrictions on movement out of the city”, all of which he called disturbing.
Ehsanullah Amiri in Kabul and Carol E. Lee in Washington contributed to this article.