Back to the Future Afghanistan: Taliban Fighters Enter Kunduz
Displayed with permission from Newsweek
Fighters from the Taliban militant group entered the northern Afghan city of Kunduz Sunday, advancing against Afghan forces in the same city that it captured a year ago.
Sheer Ali Kamawal, police commander in Kunduz, told Reuters that the attack started at midnight and that Taliban militants had stationed themselves in several homes in the city.
Clashes are continuing across the city and at least one policeman was killed and four more wounded in the fighting, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. It said that Afghan military reinforcements would be sent to the city.
The offensive appeared to be a large-scale operation by the Taliban, with the Afghan forces fighting on at least two fronts inside the city.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the group’s fighters had seized four government checkpoints in Kunduz.
“A massive operation started on Kunduz capital from four directions early this morning,” he said.
The Taliban’s lightning offensive on Kunduz in September 2015 shocked an Afghan military that had not lost an urban center to the militant group since the U.S.-led occupation of the country in 2001.
Government forces, supported by NATO troops, recaptured the series within four days. But the loss of the city called into question the capabilities of the Afghan security forces after years of U.S. military training and support.
The battle for the city demonstrated that the militant group could now capture territory, albeit briefly, when the Afghan government forces did not have the support of NATO-led troops.