Security forces fight Taliban militants in Afghan city

Kabul, Oct 4 (IANS) Afghan security forces on Tuesday continued clashes with Taliban militants in Kunduz city in the country’s northern region, police said.

On Monday, the Taliban launched a coordinated attack on the city to recapture its control, 250 km north of Afghan capital of Kabul, triggering fierce clashes with the security forces.

“The clearing operation has been continuing. The joint Afghan security forces have managed to clear several districts, including downtown areas overnight from militants,” a senior police officer Mahfuzullah Akbari told Xinhua news agency.

The militants seized the main intersection of the city for a short time on Monday before being driven back by Afghan army troops.

Most of the streets remained deserted on Tuesday morning as sporadic clashes continuing and the government forces backed by helicopter gunships have been targeting Taliban positions, according to witnesses.

“The ongoing operation will take more time as the situation in the city is tense. The security forces are moving cautiously as the militants are using private properties as bunkers, they are using civilians as human shields,” a provincial security source said on condition of anonymity.

At least three civilians were killed and more than 50 persons injured since the fighting began on Monday, the source said.

The Taliban, which ruled the country before they were ousted in late 2001, have renewed armed insurgency, staging ambushes and suicide attacks, killing combatants as well as civilians.

They have intensified attacks over the past couple of years since early 2015 when the Afghan security forces assumed the full security responsibility from Nato-led troops.

The Taliban also stormed several districts in southern Uruzgan, Helmand and neighbouring Farah province on Monday.

The clashes in Kunduz came as an international conference is expected to be held in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, October 5, with development and economy of the war-hit country on top of its agenda.

–IANS

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