Ukraine Snake Island Flag - Buy it Here!


Iran Press TV

Taliban militants attack Afghan city amid 'peace talks' with US

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 31, 2019 09:56AM

The Taliban have launched a massive offensive against Afghanistan's strategic city of Kunduz in the midst of reports that the militant group and the US are close to a "peace" deal.

Witnesses said on Saturday gunfire could be heard across Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province.

Heavy fighting has been going on in Kunduz city since Taliban fighters mounted attacks from several directions on Friday night.

The Taliban claimed they had captured several important buildings, while Afghan security officials insisted they had enough manpower on the ground to repel the attack.

"Security forces are repelling the Taliban attack on some parts of Kunduz city. Their top priority is to protect the civilians," Government spokesman Sediq Sediqqi wrote in a Twitter posting.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said at least 34 Taliban terrorists had been killed during ground and air operations in three areas of the city and that purging operations were still underway.

Reports said electricity and most telephone services were cut and residents were sheltering in their houses.

"The city is completely empty, shops are locked, people aren't moving and light and heavy weapons can be heard in several parts of the city," local resident Khaluddin told Reuters news agency.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahi said the militants have captured large pockets of the city's outskirts three times over the past two years.

The latest offensive came amid growing anticipation that American and Taliban negotiators in the Qatari capital Doha were close to reaching an agreement.

Sediqqi said the attack shows the Taliban "don't believe in the peace opportunity provided by the US and the government of Afghanistan".

Senior US diplomat and native Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad is expected in Kabul in the coming days to outline the terms of a "peace" settlement to President Ashraf Ghani.

President Donald Trump declared on Friday that although Washington had held good negotiations with the Taliban, it had not yet reached a deal on US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Taliban sources have said Trump's remarks about maintaining a contingent of US forces in Afghanistan, even after the signing of a deal would be unacceptable, demanding a complete pullout of foreign troops.

Nearly 20,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, are currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of a mission to purportedly train, assist and advise Afghan security forces.

Despite peace talks, deadly skirmishes between the Taliban and Afghan forces, as well as terror attacks on populated areas of the country, have not subsided.

The negotiations come almost 18 years after the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a ruling Taliban regime. US troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

American forces have since remained bogged down in Afghanistan through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now, Donald Trump.

Join the mailing list