KUNDUZ: Afghan safety forces “repelled” a coordinated Taliban assault on the northern metropolis of Kunduz on Saturday, President Ashraf Ghani mentioned, even because the insurgents claimed to have captured essential metropolis buildings.
The multi-pronged Taliban offensive on Kunduz, which has come underneath frequent assault since 2015, occurred as US and rebel negotiators proceed to hunt an settlement in Doha that will see 1000’s of American troops go away Afghanistan in return for safety ensures.
Officers mentioned the preventing began round 1:00 am (2030 GMT Friday), when Taliban militants superior on town from a number of instructions.
Gunfire could possibly be heard throughout Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province close to the Tajik border. Because the day wore on each side claimed that items from the opposite´s forces had been surrendering.
By Saturday night, the Afghan authorities mentioned it had gained the higher hand.
The Taliban “needed to create an environment of concern within the metropolis … however their assault was repelled by our courageous safety forces,” Ghani mentioned in an announcement.
However shortly after that announcement, reviews emerged of a suicide attacker focusing on the native police chief as he spoke to reporters.
Inside ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi mentioned 10 individuals had been killed and the police chief was wounded. It was not instantly clear what had occurred and whether or not any journalists had been among the many useless.
Just a few hours earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that a number of essential constructions had been captured within the assault.
“The Taliban attacked Kunduz metropolis from a number of instructions this morning. We’re within the metropolis now capturing authorities buildings one after the opposite,” he informed reporters.
US plane supported the Afghan air power in joint air strikes, a US official informed AFP, whereas American trainers gave recommendation to Afghan floor troops.
Rahimi mentioned “a whole bunch of Taliban terrorists had been killed”, however there was no strategy to instantly confirm the declare.
An AFP journalist in Kunduz mentioned small-arms and heavy-weapons hearth could possibly be heard in 4 areas of town — however by mid-morning the reviews ceased as most space cellphone protection was reduce.
The assault comes as US and Taliban negotiators proceed a ninth spherical of talks in Doha. Western diplomats had extensively anticipated an announcement to have been reached by now, however progress seems to have slowed in latest days.
On Thursday, a US commando was killed within the southern province of Zabul, marking no less than the 15th American fight demise in Afghanistan this yr.
US Common Scott Miller, who heads US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, visited Kunduz as Saturday´s preventing was ongoing.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy main negotiations with the Taliban, wrote on Twitter that he had “raised” the Kunduz assault throughout talks in Doha, “telling the Taliban that violence like this should cease.”
The Taliban assault reveals they “don´t consider within the peace alternative offered by the US and the federal government of Afghanistan”, Ghani spokesman Sediq Sediqqi wrote on Twitter.
“On the one hand they’re speaking with the US, alternatively they’re attacking individuals´s homes and villages. We is not going to go away their assault unanswered.”
In late September 2015, the Taliban attacked Kunduz, overwhelming native forces and briefly seizing town. It was solely by way of in depth US air help that the Taliban had been repelled.
The occasion garnered specific international consideration after a US gunship struck a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Docs With out Borders), killing dozens of sufferers and employees.
The autumn of Kunduz additionally underscored the vulnerability of Afghan safety forces and performed a job in stopping the pull-out of US forces underneath president Barack Obama.
Since then town has come underneath frequent Taliban assault, however the insurgents have been unable to repeat a full seize.