KABUL: Afghan forces retook control of the strategic northern city of Kunduz on Thursday after a three-day Taliban occupation that dealt a stinging blow to the country’s NATO-trained military.
The fall of the provincial capital, even temporarily, highlights the stubborn insurgency’s potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds in the south of the country.
Afghan forces, hindered by the slow arrival of reinforcements but backed by limited US air support, struggled to regain control of the city after three days of heavy fighting.
But on Thursday troops managed to reach the centre of Kunduz where the streets were littered with Taliban bodies, residents said, adding that fighting was still ongoing in parts of the city.
“(Afghan) special forces now control Kunduz City, it is retaken and being cleared (of) terrorists,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter, adding that the insurgents had suffered heavy casualties.
Deputy Interior Minister Ayoub Salangi said the city had been recaptured after a “special operation” overnight.
Local residents reported deafening overnight bombardments, adding that the Taliban were still resisting Afghan forces in some parts of the city.
But some scenes of jubilation erupted around the city square where local residents, who suffered three days of crippling food shortages, thanked government troops.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.