Monday, October 3, 2016

Kunduz assault: Afghan Taliban 'enter city'

  • 1 hour ago
  • From the section Asia
An Afghan policeman takes position during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 3, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionOfficials said that Afghan forces repelled the night-time attack
Taliban fighters have entered the strategic northern Afghan city of Kunduz, reports say.
An eyewitness told the BBC that he had seen the Taliban advance. Fierce fighting has been going on all day.
The defence ministry has denied the city is in militant hands.
Kunduz was briefly captured by the Taliban in September 2015 - the first time the insurgents had taken a major city - but government forces, backed by Nato, recaptured it within days.
The Taliban have published a video apparently confirming they are once more inside the city. 
A member of the Kunduz provincial council, Amruddin Wali, also told Ariana News that the Taliban had raised their flag in a central square.
The fighting comes a day before a major donors' conference in Brussels and highlights the precarious security situation after Nato pulled out combat forces.
In southern Helmand province, militants also took a strategically important district to the south of Lashkar Gah, killing the local police chief, officials said earlier on Monday.
A number of other police casualties were also reported.
Residents in Kunduz told the BBC they heard heavy fighting and helicopters flying over the strategically important city.
The militants attacked from four sides of the city in the middle of the night.
Afghan map
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Taliban had captured several checkpoints in the city.
"A massive operation started on Kunduz capital from four directions early this morning," he said via his official Twitter account.
The capture of Kunduz by the Taliban last September was a huge blow to the country's Western-backed government. The militants abandoned the city after four days but they had proved their growing capability.
The group raided Tarin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan, last month.
Afghan government forces are estimated to have control over no more than two-thirds of Afghanistan.
Tuesday's conference in Brussels will see Afghanistan's officials and international partners discuss future funding for the country.

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