Taliban forces assaulted the northern Afghan town of Kunduz on Saturday, Afghan and Taliban officials said the United States along with the hardline Islamist group appear near to finalizing a deal to the withdrawal of troops.
Heavy fighting was happening in Kunduz city following the Taliban fighters armed strikes from several instructions on Friday night, forcing the Afghan forces to retaliate and protected the reinforcement from stopping the insurgents from gaining control over portions of town.
Electricity and many phone services were trimmed, and inhabitants were sheltering inside their homes.
“The town is empty, stores are locked, individuals are not moving, and thick and light guns may be observed in many areas of the town,” said neighborhood resident Khaluddin, who like many Afghans goes by one name.
Government officials at Kunduz and Kabul said the Taliban were looking for refuge within houses, which makes it impossible for Afghan and U.S. forces to conduct airstrikes, and a number of the fighters had entered the major hospital in town.
The interior ministry said at least 34 Taliban insurgents were killed in air and ground operations in three regions of Kunduz town and clearance operations were penalized.
“Security forces are repelling the Taliban assault on several pieces of Kunduz city.
“As always the Taliban have obtained places in civilian locations,” he explained in a tweet.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid affirmed the assault Kunduz city. Over the previous two decades, the insurgent group has managed to capture large parts of regions surrounding town before being pushed off after days of battling the Afghan forces and airstrikes conducted by the U.S. forces.
The fighting in Kunduz, a strategic northern town the Taliban came near shooting twice in the past several decades, began as expectations have increased which U.S. and Taliban negotiators in Doha were close to securing an arrangement that could see a schedule for its withdrawal of tens of thousands of U.S. troops.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born U.S. diplomat leading the discussions for Washington, will be anticipated in Kabul in the coming days to summarize the conditions of a settlement to the Afghan president before meetings with NATO partners.
A U.S.-Taliban accord wouldn’t in itself end the fighting in Afghanistan, but it might open the way for discussions between the Taliban and the authorities in Kabul to get a larger peace arrangement.
Sources from the Taliban stated Trump’s announcement that the United States will continue to keep a force in Afghanistan even after a deal has been reached was unacceptable to them since they require an entire pull-out of foreign troops in the country.
Around 20,000 foreign troops, many of them American, have been currently in Afghanistan as a part of a U.S.-led NATO mission to train, help and counsel Afghan forces. Some U.S. forces execute counter-terrorism surgeries.