Afghan city un­der Tal­iban at­tack

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TAL­IBAN in­sur­gents launched an assault on Kun­duz yes­ter­day, trig­ger­ing in­tense fight­ing and forc­ing res­i­dents to hide in their homes, one year af­ter the mil­i­tants briefly took con­trol of the Afghan city.

Govern­ment he­li­copters were tar­get­ing gun­men from the air in a bid to re­pel the at­tack, a day be­fore Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani was due to meet world pow­ers at a ma­jor donors con­fer­ence in Brus­sels.

“We are very hun­gry and do not have ac­cess to food at the mo­ment. The city is de­serted, the shops are closed ... The whole city is sur­rounded by the Tal­iban,” said 28-year-old Kun­duz res­i­dent Ab­dul­lah.

Mahmood Dan­ish, a spokesper­son for the Kun­duz gov­er­nor, told AFP Tal­iban fight­ers had be­gun at­tack­ing the city from four di­rec­tions be­fore dawn.

“The Tal­iban are us­ing civil­ian houses as shel­ters,” he said, adding there were mil­i­tants in the south­ern part of the city, in­clud­ing near Kun­duz re­gional hospi­tal.

He said govern­ment forces were de­ployed across the city, in­clud­ing in the air, and had driven mil­i­tants out of one district.

A Tal­iban spokesper­son said in­sur­gents had killed sev­eral soldiers and were mak­ing “rapid” progress.

The at­tack comes just over a year af­ter the Tal­iban over­ran Kun­duz, the only provin­cial cap­i­tal to have fallen into their hands since they were ousted from power in 2001. Govern­ment con­trol of the city has been shaky ever since.

Mr Ghani will meet with world lead­ers in Brus­sels to­day and to­mor­row in a bid to se­cure fi­nan­cial aid from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity up to 2020 to re­build his war-rav­aged coun­try.

The meet­ing will try to drum up sup­port from an in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity suf­fer­ing from donor fa­tigue as it grap­ples with con­flicts in Syria and Iraq, plus the worst mi­gra­tion cri­sis in decades.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon are among those who will join hosts Ghani and EU Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk. –

Photo: AFP

The Tal­iban launched an assault on Kun­duz yes­ter­day, one year af­ter the Is­lamist mili­tia briefly took over the north­ern Afghan city fol­low­ing a light­ning of­fen­sive, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent said.

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