Kabul, Aug 9: Amid the Taliban’s attempts to capture more cities in Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry has launched a counter-offensive to evict the advancing militants from the strategically important Kunduz city.
Fawad Aman, a spokesman for the Ministry, said on Sunday that the Units of Special Force have been fighting in Kunduz “to clear the city from terrorists”, reports Xinhua news agency.
Taliban militants in a surprise move entered major parts of Kunduz city, the capital of northern Kunduz province along the border with Tajikistan early Sunday, forcing hundreds of families to leave their houses for safer places.
Although Kunduz police chief Zabardast Safi has down-played the Taliban influence in Kunduz and asserted that security forces would beat back the insurgents, locals say that fighting has been continuing and the militants have captured major parts of the city.
Ehasanullah Faizi, head of a Kunduz hospital told Xinhua that “a dozen dead bodies and 60 injured civilians have been taken to hospital” since Saturday.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed that the militants has captured Kunduz city including the provincial governor office.
The armed outfit, after capturing nearly 200 districts over the past three months, has overrun Nimroz provincial capital Zaranj in the west, and Shiberghan city, the capital of Jawzan province in the north over the past couple of days.
It has also claimed that it had captured Sari Pul city, the capital of the northern Sari Pul province.
Taliban militants have also been mounting pressure Herat city, the capital of western Herat, and Badakhshan provincial capital Faizabad city.
The dEfence Ministry spokesman has insisted that the Taliban’s attempts to gain land in Faizabad and Herat have been repulsed.
Taliban-led activities have also claimed scores of lives including those of 10 civilians in the eastern Khost and the neighbouring Paktia provinces.
Confirming conflicts, Aman stated that more than 570 Taliban fighters have been killed and more than 300 others injured in Kunduz, Kandahar, Nimruz, Takhar, Ghazni, Paktia, Herat, Nangarhar, Laghman, Farah, Jawzjan, Sari Pul, Faryab and Badakhshan provinces over the past 24 hours.