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RFE/RL Gandhara

Thousands Of Afghan Families Displaced As Fight For Kunduz Rages

June 26, 2021

Local aid officials in north Afghanistan said on June 26 that thousands of families have been displaced as government troops battle Taliban militants for control of the key city of Kunduz.

Taliban militants have already captured districts that surround Kunduz, which has briefly fallen under insurgents' control at least twice in recent years.

"About 5,000 families have been displaced by the fighting," Ghulam Sakhi Rasuli, director of the Kunduz Refugees and Repatriation Department, told AFP.

He said thousands of families had fled the province.

Militants who already controlled major swaths of the country have made rapid gains since U.S.-led international troops officially began their withdrawal on May 1.

The push has given Taliban fighters new control over dozens of districts three months before the international pullout is scheduled for completion.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, at the White House on June 25 that "Afghans are going to have to decide their future."

But Biden vowed that "we're going to stick with you and we're going to do our best to see to it you have the tools you need."

Ghani said Washington's decision to withdraw "has made everybody recalculate and reconsider" as the partnership between the United States and Afghanistan enters a new phase.

Peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban, launched in Qatar in September 2020, largely broke off when Biden announced the pullout of U.S. forces by September 11 following a May 1 deadline the previous U.S. administration had agreed with the Taliban.

Based on reporting by AFP

Source: https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/ afghanistan-thousands-displace- kunduz-battle/31327577.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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