Taliban retreats from Afghan city, Kunduz

Taliban announces that it pulls back from Afghan city of Kunduz to save ammunition and to avoid further civilian casualties

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Afghan security forces prepare to check on reports of a possible ambush by the Taliban on the Baghlan-Kunduz highway, Afghanistan.

Updated Oct 14, 2015

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that the Taliban militants had withdrawn from Afghan city of Kunduz completely on Tuesday.

Kunduz, the fifth largest city in Afghanistan, was captured by Afghan Taliban militants after an attack that took place on September 28.

Afghan government forces and the United States launched joint operations against the Taliban on September 29, to retake the strategic city which was the Taliban’s former northern stronghold and is an important transportation hub for the north of the country.

During the operations, the US-supported Afghan forces conducted air strikes on Al Qaeda training camps.

Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, the US spokesperson in Afghanistan, described the battle against the Taliban as “one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan."

A Taliban militant talks with residents at the main square of Kunduz, a day after the group took control of the strategic city

On Tuesday, the militant group released a statement ordering its militants to pull back from Kunduz  to save ammunition and the lives of its members and civilians.

“The Islamic Emirate considered it in its best military interest to fortify its trenches surrounding the city rather than keeping the city, which would result in casualties to the mujahedeen [fighters] and unnecessary use of ammunition,” the statement said.

Taliban spokesperson Mujahid also said that "pulling back from Kunduz city and government compounds is based on consultation in order to protect civilians from bombings and prolonging it is a waste of humans and ammunition.”

"We assure our people and the world that we are able to seize the city," he added.

According to the Afghan Public Health Ministry, more than 60 civilians have lost their lives, and almost 800 others have gotten injured since the militants seized control of Kunduz.

Meanwhile, the provincial police chief of Kunduz Gen. Mohammad Qasim Jungulbagh confirmed the Taliban withdrawal from the city, saying that "Afghan security forces are in control of the whole city."

Also, Kunduz Governor Hamdullah Danish stated that Afghan security forces are searching whether or not some militants were left behind.

He also added that life in the city returned to normal as shops and markets in the city were reopened. 

TRTWorld and agencies