Taliban militants launch major attack on Afghanistan’s Kunduz
Taliban militants in Afghanistan have launched a major attack on Kunduz one year after briefly seizing control of the strategic northeastern city.
According to local officials, the Taliban militants began the “coordinated” assault from different directions in the early hours of Monday.
Government forces are engaged in fierce fighting against the militants in and around Kunduz, the capital of a province with the same name.
“We are putting all our efforts together to push them back,” said Sheer Ali Kamal, commander of the 808 Tandar police zone in the Afghan city.
Media reports said military helicopters were flying overhead and gunfire could be heard in the city.
A provincial official said militants have managed to reach the Se Saraka area of the city, Afghanistan’s Khaama Press reported.
The source added that the Taliban have blocked some key routes to other districts of Kunduz.
On September 28 last year, the Taliban militant group overran Kunduz in a lightning advance. The city was the only provincial capital to have fallen into their hands since the 2001 US-led invasion.
They remained in full control of the city for two days and eventually announced they were withdrawing from its outskirts on October 15.
Nearly 290 people were killed and hundreds more wounded during the violence, according to UN sources.
Government control of the city has been shaky ever since and many of its residents have fled to other places.
Last October, a US airstrike during the battle to push the Taliban out of Kunduz hit a hospital operated by aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres, killing 42 people including patients and medical staff.
US-led forces overpowered the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of the so-called global war on terror.
The militant group lost its grip over Afghanistan in the US-led military invasion, but security has not been delivered to the country despite the presence of foreign boots on Afghan soil.
In July, UN monitors tallied 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injuries in Afghanistan in the first half of 2016. The records, it said, showed an unprecedented rise in civilian casualties.