Taliban seize half of key Afghan city
Iran Press TV
Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:9PM
An Afghan official says Taliban militants have seized half of the northern city of Kunduz following fierce battles with security forces.
Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz provincial police chief, told The Associated Press on Monday that gunbattles are still continuing between Taliban militants and Afghan government forces.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the Taliban militants hoisted their flag over the main square in Kunduz.
'They have taken over Spinzar chaman, the main city square. Heavy clashes are ongoing between Taliban and government forces,' DPA news agency quoted Hamdullah Danishi, Kunduz deputy governor, as saying.
Two security officials told Reuters that the Taliban militants broke into the main prison in the city, freeing hundreds of militants.
Hussaini said, 'Right now heavy fighting is ongoing in Khanabad, Chardara and at Imam Saheb, the main entrances to the city. We have enough forces and will drive them out soon.'
Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the Kunduz provincial council, said residents were 'greatly concerned' about the deteriorating situation.
'The Taliban are trying to take control of Kunduz city and this is why they have launched their attacks from different directions using their full power,' he said.
Reports from the area said on Monday that Taliban militants captured several government compounds in the volatile city and are now attempting to take over the police headquarters and governor house.
Afghan health officials said that at least 15 members of Afghan security forces and 20 Taliban militants have been killed in the fierce fighting.
At least seven civilians have also lost their lives and about 50 others were injured in the ongoing clashes.
Kunduz Province is strategic as it is located on a crossroad that connects key regions of the country. The province has been witnessing fighting between security forces and militants since April.
Analysts say the fall of the provincial capital city to Taliban militants would amount to a major setback for Afghan forces.
Afghanistan continues to face insecurity 14 years after the US and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. Although the Taliban were removed from power as a result of the invasion, many areas in the country are still threatened by insecurity.
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