Taliban troops launch assault on Kunduz

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan – The Taliban claim they have entered Kunduz city in northern Afghanistan and have overrun security offices. Reports have been mixed as to how much of the city they have been able to seize but international agencies have reportedly begun to evacuate some of their staff.

The Afghanistan Interior Ministry reported that at least one policeman was killed when Taliban troops entered the city in the early hours of Monday morning and later confirmed that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) would soon be arriving to secure the city.

Taliban earlier today released the videos hoisting their flag at the intersection to Kunduz city and in late evening the spokesman, Zabihullah claimed that life will go back to normal soon as they have captured the government offices of the city.

Whereas Sediq Seddiqi, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry of Afghanistan tweeted from his Twitter account that Afghan security forces have reached Kunduz and are busy in response to Taliban.

Taliban video showing hoisting of their flag in Kunduzh [photo from video by Taliban spokesman]

Taliban video showing hoisting of their flag in Kunduz [photo from video by Taliban spokesman]

Later a spokesman for the Afghan President, Shah Hussain Murtazvi said that commandos have arrived and have pushed back Taliban from the main roundup of the Kunduz city.

“Efforts underway to quickly establish normalcy in Kunduz so people restart work, Mujahidin are treating people with kindness,” says Mujahid.

Kunduz was previously captured by the Taliban for a short period in September 2015 until the ANSF backed by US troops and air force retook the provincial headquarters. Since then Kunduz has faced numerous attacks from surrounding areas where locals have reported a Taliban presence.

In a separate attack in the south of the country the Taliban assaulted a police headquarters and killed Helmand’s Nawa district police commander, Ahmed Shah Salimzoi. They also claim to have also killed a member of his family, but this has not been confirmed.

“Nawa DHQ (district headquarter) and all CPs (check posts) in Helmand have just collapsed, dozens of gunmen killed/wounded, military equipment also seized”, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, Taliban spokesperson for the South of Afghanistan claimed.

A source from the area, who didn’t want to be named told ArmedPolitics, “Taliban haven’t captured the district, counter attacks from Afghan Security Forces are underway.”

The attacks come at a time when Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah prepare to attend an international aid conference in Brussels. It is expected that during the event the international community will pledge increased financial support for the country.

F-M Mellbin, EU Ambassador and EU Special Representative in Kabul, Afghanistan tweeted “Renewed commitment of international community for Afghanistan.”

(Reporting by Malik Achakzai; Editing by Robyn Hunter & Steve Shaw)