Afghan forces launch bid to retake Kunduz from Taliban – BBC News29 Settembre 2015
bbc.com – Afghan forces launch bid to retake Kunduz from Taliban
Afghan forces have begun an operation to retake the city of Kunduz, which was seized by the Taliban on Monday.
Security forces have cleared the area around the central prison and the police headquarters, police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hossini said.
A day earlier, troops and officials retreated to the airport after militants overran the northern city and freed hundreds from jail.
The attack came as President Ashraf Ghani completed a year in office.
It was one of the most significant militant assaults in years and will pile pressure on Mr Ghani’s unity government – Kunduz is the first provincial capital seized by the Taliban since they lost power in the US-led invasion in 2001.
But the BBC’s Dawood Azami says their main challenge will now be to hold the city.
There were few signs of fighting overnight and the city remained without power, BBC Afghan learned.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres says it is treating more than 100 people wounded in heavy fighting and its facility in the city is now full.
Kunduz is strategically important as a transport hub for the north of the country.
The insurgents attack began at dawn on Monday as fighters fell upon the city from different directions. They captured key buildings and freed about 500 prisoners, including members of the Taliban, from the jail.
Electricity and phone networks went down across the city and eventually officials and troops retreated to the airport. Dozens of civilians who fled to the airport were reportedly turned away by security forces.
Defending the military’s performance on Monday, the Afghan army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Murad Ali Murad, suggested government forces withdrew to avoid civilian casualties.
“Our forces arrived there on time, but we had to take extra care not to cause civilian casualties,” he said.
Kunduz province has seen a number of attacks since April, with the Taliban joining forces with other insurgents.
Militant violence has increased across Afghanistan since the departure of most US and Nato forces last year.
The few thousand Nato troops that remain are mostly just training and advising Afghan forces, although US drones still target militant leaders.
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