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Iran Press TV

3,000 Afghan families flee fighting in Kunduz Province

Iran Press TV

Sun May 3, 2015 4:14PM

A local official in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz Province has announced that over 3,000 Afghan families have fled raging battles between Taliban militants and government troops in the province.

The announcement was made by provincial police spokesman, Sayed Sarwar Hosseini, who added that Afghanistan's central government had to dispatch reinforcements to the province.

Hundreds of Taliban militants launched armed attacks against Afghan army positions in Kunduz late last month, marking the beginning of their spring offensive.

Authorities in the northern province asked villagers on Saturday to evacuate the areas where the Afghan military forces planned to launch operations against the Taliban.

Moreover, tribal leaders in the region estimate that nearly 15,000 people have so far been displaced due to the fighting, most of whom have settled in the provincial capital city of Kunduz.

Fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants has intensified since the militants launched their annual spring offensive against Afghan forces and foreign embassies on April 24.

Afghan Interior Minister Noorul Haq Ulumi and the deputy to Defense Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Dawlat Waziri, have dismissed the Taliban spring offensive, saying the country's security forces are capable of foiling militant attacks.

Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still witnessing increasing violence.

At least 13,500 foreign forces remain in Afghanistan despite the end of the US-led combat mission, which came on December 31, 2014. The forces, mainly from the US, are there for what Washington calls a support mission. NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.

MFB/HJL/SS



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