Afghani Forces Taking Kunduz Back From Taliban | World Defense

Afghani Forces Taking Kunduz Back From Taliban

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Afghan forces taking back Kunduz from Taliban - CNN.com

Afghan security forces started retaking parts of Kunduz from the Taliban, officials said, one day after the key city had largely fallen in a major victory for the insurgents.

"A big military operation to clear all Kunduz city is about to start," Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said Tuesday.

U.S. forces joined in the military action, launching an airstrike in Kunduz on Tuesday, said Brian Tribus, spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Kunduz prison, a police compound and the neighborhood of Zir Dawra are among the areas Afghan forces have secured, Sediqqi said. The Taliban denied the prison and police facility had been secured by Afghan forces.

A day earlier, Sediqqi said Kunduz had largely fallen into "the hand of enemies." Kunduz is the largest city to be overrun by the Taliban since 2001.


Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz police chief, said Taliban insurgents seized the main roundabout in the city and made it to the prison, where they freed several hundred inmates. While Hussaini said 500 prisoners were freed, Rahmatullah Nabil, head of the National Directorate of Security, said the total was closer to 600. Of those, 110 prisoners were Taliban insurgents, Nabil said.

The Taliban also claimed to have seized a 200-bed hospital -- posting photos to social media that they claimed proved their control of the facility.

Also in Kunduz, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that two of its vehicles had been "taken out of its offices in the city," but it did not say by who.

"Through its contact with all the relevant parties, the ICRC has been given reassurances that the vehicles would be returned in the near future," spokesman Zarlasht Sarmast said in an email.

A public health official in Kunduz reported 170 civilian casualties in the fighting, including 16 people who were killed, according to journalist Sune Engel Rasmussen in Kabul. A Doctors Without Borders facility had admitted more than 100 injured people as of Monday, Rasmussen told CNN.

Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for the Kunduz police chief, said 83 Taliban militants have been killed, mostly in Afghan and coalition airstrikes.

Mawlawi Salam, the most senior commander of the Taliban in Kunduz, was killed, along with his deputy and 15 of their fighters in an airstrike, according to a statement from the National Directorate of Security.

"Afghan security forces will turn Kunduz into a great graveyard for the enemy," it read.

In the past 24 hours, 17 Afghan security forces have been killed and another 18 troops were wounded in fighting, acting defense minister Masoom Stanekzai said Tuesday afternoon. Stanekzai's toll was countrywide, not just in Kunduz, he said.
 
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