On Monday, Taliban fighters besieged Kunduz, the largest city in northeastern Afghanistan, stressing pressure on the government forces, which began to retreat since last May at an alarming pace, parallel to the withdrawal of US forces from the country.
A security source confirmed that the government forces withdrew from the border with Tajikistan to the north and the main road leading to the capital, Kabul, to the south.
According to the source, the government security forces lost 3 areas from which they were forced to withdraw after a week of intense battles, warning that if the government forces did not receive air support, it would be a disaster.
“The situation is worrying in Kunduz, as Taliban fighters are at the gates of the city and are facing the army,” said Amr al-Din Wali, a member of the provincial council, adding that this morning the movement took control of the Ashin bridge north of the city and started blocking the roads to Kunduz.
For his part, Taliban spokesman, “Zabihullah Mujahid,” said – in a telephone conversation with the French Press Agency – that his fighters are conducting operations around Kunduz, but they did not launch an attack on the city.
The Taliban had previously taken control of Kunduz twice, in 2015 and 2016, before it was recaptured by government forces.
Extension in Balkh and Baghlan
Meanwhile, Taliban militants took control of 4 districts in the northern provinces of Balkh and Baghlan, according to official statements.
A member of the Shura Council of Balkh province, “Syed Abdullah Masroor” said that Taliban militants launched an attack on the districts of Dawlatabad, Uljir and Kishandeh and took control of them, explaining that the movement’s fighters launched an attack on the three mentioned areas, forcing the government forces to withdraw.
For his part, a member of Baghlan Provincial Council, “Firouzuddin Aymak” confirmed the fall of the Gilgi district to the Taliban after an armed attack, and a statement issued by the movement confirmed the seizure of the aforementioned areas by its fighters.
This brings the number of districts controlled by the Taliban to more than 29 within the past two months, and according to United Nations data, the movement controls about 70% of the country’s territory, excluding city centers.
The Ministry of Defense announced the restoration of control of the headquarters of the districts of Bangui and Khawaja Ghar in the northeastern province of Takhar, one day after Taliban militants took control of them after violent clashes and battles with government forces.