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Tuesday, September 29

Conflicting statements at this point about progress of Battle of Kunduz

I updated my first post on the Kunduz situation 4 times this morning; after this post I'm going to be signing off for the day.  

First, from a report by Afghanistan's Khaama Press at 4:04PM local time on a  joint press conference in Kabul with President Ashraf Ghani and security officials this afternoon:
Rahmatullah Nabil, director of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said that there was prior knowledge of a possible attack on Kundoz, adding that high profile prisoners were already moved to Pul-i-Charkhi jail in Kabul.
Masoum Stanikzai, the acting Defense Minister told reporters at the press conference that Taliban advancement in Kundoz was not based on a deal. He said that negligence in duties have taken place.
Afghan Forces Battle Taliban to Retake Kunduz
Ayaz Gul
Last updated on: September 29, 2015 10:13 AM

Voice of America


Afghanistan’s national security forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, launched a counteroffensive against the Taliban Tuesday to retake control of the northern city of Kunduz, the first major city the insurgents have captured since being ousted from power in 2001.

Both sides made conflicting claims about the fighting and death toll. Health officials said, since the fighting began, local hospitals have recorded 16 dead and nearly 200 wounded in the fighting, but gave no other details.

The Afghan defense ministry said its security forces, including commando units, began attacking Taliban positions early Tuesday in their bid to enter Kunduz, population 300,000.

The defense ministry said U.S. planes also bombed insurgents at the ministry’s request.

NATO spokesman Colonel Brian Tribus confirmed the airstrike was carried out, and said the strike was done "to eliminate a threat to coalition and Afghan forces" around Kunduz.

President Ashraf Ghani told reporters in Kabul that national forces have made quick advances, retaking control of several buildings, including a newly built police station and the city's prison.

Ghani, who marked his first anniversary in office Tuesday, said that airstrikes have inflicted heavy casualties on the opposition, insisting Taliban insurgents are using residents in Kunduz as “human shields."

He urged his nation to trust Afghan troops and not give in to “fear and terror.”

Deny claim

But the Taliban denied official claims of advances in Kunduz.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement emailed to VOA, said the insurgents remain in firm control of the city and are consolidating positions to defend Kunduz.

The Associated Press reported Taliban gunmen patrolled Kunduz streets Tuesday, setting up checkpoints, searching for government loyalists and sealing off exit routes for anyone trying to leave the city.



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