Taliban launch ‘massive attack’ on Afghan city of Kunduz

Taliban launch ‘massive attack’ on Afghan city of Kunduz

Taliban launch ‘massive attack’ on Afghan city of Kunduz

"I can confirm that intense gunbattles are going on around the city, but the Taliban have not been able to overrun any security checkpoint", he said. He could not give an exact number. He did not say how many.

"We could very easily attack but we don't want civilian casualties", Ahmadzai said. A spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan referred questions to the Afghan forces. At least 35 Taliban fighters, including a key commander of the group, were killed, according to the National Directorate of Security.

"As always the Taliban have taken positions in civilian areas".

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied a purported draft of peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States posted online by a section of Afghan media.

The US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, arrived in Doha, Qatar, last week for the latest round of discussions aimed at reaching a deal with the insurgent group and bringing about an end to America's longest-running war.

A U.S. -Taliban accord would not in itself end the fighting in Afghanistan but it would open the way for talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul for a wider peace agreement.

Gunfire could be heard across Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province near the Tajik border, and as the day wore on, both sides claimed units from the other's forces were surrendering.

Presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi told reporters that the assault was "completely against the peace talks" and asserted that the militants were sheltering among civilians.

"We have enough forces on the ground in Kunduz to repel Taliban attacks and provide protection to location civilians".

The United States seeks Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will no longer be a launching pad for attacks.

More than 2,400 USA service members have died in Afghanistan since the US -led invasion in late 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harbored al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

About 20,000 foreign troops, a lot of them American, are now in Afghanistan as part of a USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

Taliban sources have previously told NBC News that they wanted a six-month period to declare a ceasefire upon reaching a deal and wanted the U.S.to pull out all their forces within the same time.

This comes as the Taliban militants launched coordinated attack on Kunduz city in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Reports say at least three civilians and dozens of fighters died.

The Taliban seized Kunduz, at the heart of a major agricultural region near Tajikistan, for around two weeks in 2015 before withdrawing in the face of a NATO-backed Afghan offensive.

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