NATO troops widen offensive on third day of Kunduz clashes

NATO forces widen offensive in battle to retake northern Afghan city of Kunduz captured by Taliban as Afghan forces struggle to recapture the strategic city

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

An Afghan policeman holds a gun on his sholder a day after Taliban insurgents overran the strategic northern city of Kunduz, on September 29, 2015

NATO forces widen their offensive in Kunduz on the third day of fighting over the Taliban captured Afghan city of Kunduz as Afghan forces continued military operations against the Taliban.

American air strikes hit a Taliban position around Kunduz Airport overnight on Tuesday between approximetely 11:30 pm and 1:30 am “against individuals threatening the force,” US Army Colonel Brian Tribus told.

The Taliban was driven back from Kunduz Airport by about 5,000 Afghan troops with the help of the US air strikes according to an Afghan security official. The Pentagon said that the air strikes were protecting coalition forces on the ground and they were not held to support Afghan troops, therefore not against the regulations of engagements for the NATO support mission Resolute Support.

On Wednesday, NATO forces comprising the US, British and German troops reached the city, the Agence France Presse reported, as Taliban increased its offensive and surge outward from Kunduz.

"Coalition special forces are on the ground in Kunduz advising their Afghan counterparts," a NATO spokesperson said.

The capture of Kunduz on Monday marks for the biggest victory of the Taliban since their government was toppled in 2001, as it's the first victory of a new leader of Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

Hundreds of Afghan civilians fled Kunduz as battle surged in the key northern city following Talibans capture.

Police Chief of Kunduz Qasim Jangal Bagh stated that the situation is getting better as some of the areas were taken under the control of Afghan security forces. “So far we have re-taken police headquarters, the prison and some other parts of the city,” he said, adding that “Taliban has suffered heavy casualities, so far 83 of them have been killed including three Arab citizens in the air strikes.”

Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed their concern over potential civilian casualities. 

"We fear that many more civilians may be harmed if fighting continues over the next few days," Hussein said.

TRTWorld and agencies