Afghan soldiers patrol streets of Kunduz

Afghan officials say they have regained control of key areas of the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. An operation launched overnight saw forces recapture government landmarks and inflict heavy casualties on the militants, officials said.

There has been no word from the Taliban, but fighting is reported to be ongoing. The city’s capture was a huge blow to President Ashraf Ghani, coming on the first anniversary of his taking power.

Kunduz police chief spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini told BBC Afghan on Thursday that the military had retaken the governor’s office, the police chief’s office and the intelligence agency building, adding: “Taliban bodies are lying around.”

Pictures on social media purported to show government forces inside the city, which Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted was being cleared of insurgents.

Residents in Kunduz are said to be nervous after a night of bombardment, and after militants set up checkpoints and placed mines on roads to prevent people leaving and troops entering.

Reports also said local boys and men were being forced to fight with the Taliban, who had seized police equipment, ammunition and vehicles and raided banks. (BBC)