Fierce fighting is continuing between Afghan forces and the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan’s northern city of Kunduz, despite government claims that it had regained control of the city. On Thursday afternoon Taliban fighters seized back the main square and raised their flag there once again.
However eyewitnesses say most of the city now appears to be under government control, despite resistance. Kunduz was the first major centre to fall to the Taliban in 14 years. Street battles took place all day on Thursday as government forces pushed back the insurgents who seized the city on Monday. Many Taliban fighters have now retreated to the outskirts of Kunduz.
The Taliban has denied the city has been retaken. The city’s capture on Monday by the militant group was a huge blow to President Ashraf Ghani, coming on the first anniversary of his taking power. Praising the work of Afghan forces on Thursday, the president said he hoped that they had “proved to the people of Afghanistan, to the region and to the world that they have the ability and resolve to fight”.
A doctor at the hospital in Kunduz told reporters that they were struggling to cope with the high number of injured people coming in. A businessman living near Traffic Square in the city centre described the situation as “very, very tense” and said the fighting was still going on as darkness fell on Thursday evening.
Kunduz, with a population of around 300,000, is one of Afghanistan’s largest cities and strategically important both as a transport hub and a bread-basket for the region. (BBC)