Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn multi-pronged attack on Khanabad district of Kunduz Province in Northern Afghanistan,seizing control of the district and threatening the provincial capital Kunduz city.This comes less than a year after Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,backed by US airpower and NATO special operations forces,who secured the international airport as a haven for government officials,drove the Taliban back from the strategically located city,a regional transport centre for the Afghan north,in heavy combat last September.*
A lack of sufficient ammunition and manpower were being cited to explain the defeat.
We resisted for hours,but we received no support,complained Khanabad district administrator Hayatullah Ramiri to Reuters.According to the Associated Press,the Islamist extremists also confiscated weapons and military vehicles during their rampage.Civilians were seen fleeing the district.Other reports from Kunduz city say some government officials wasted no time in once again seeking refuge at the international airport when clashes approached the city gates.*
Kunduz city was a militant stronghold prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan following the 9-11 attacks.In their attempt to recapture the city last year,the Taliban freed more than 600 prisoners from the Kunduz jail,including almost 150 militants.*
Even as the battle for Kunduz Province re-erupts,fighting is also intense in Helmand Province in the south and Nangarhar Province in the east of Afghanistan;while the Taliban had seized yet another district in the north of the country,in Baghlan Province just to the south of Kunduz,less than a week ago.
Update:Fighting continued in Khanabad district of Kunduz Province,Afghanistan on Sunday after the Taliban Islamist extremist group captured it on Saturday,although a provincial government spokesman said that the ANDSF had retaken the centre of Khanabad.The spokesman said 38 Taliban militants had been killed in the battle so far.The Taliban were reportedly hanging on in other parts of the district,which is about 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital,Kunduz city.Nationwide,significant swathes-perhaps at least 10 to 20% of Afghanistan's territory-is either under Taliban control now or being contested by them.