So far 16 killed, 170 wounded in Kunduz battle
MoPH spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said the dead bodies and the wounded people had been transferred to the provincial zonal hospital and that most of the victims were civilians.
A day earlier, Kunduz Public Health Department said four dead bodies and 47 injured people, most of them civilians, were taken to the provincial civil hospital.
The Taliban launched their coordinated attacks from various directions on Kunduz City, the provincial capital, on the night between Sunday and Monday and were able to capture the entire city until late Monday.
But the Afghan Ministry of Defnece (MoD) in a statement said reinforcements reaching Kunduz City this morning had launched operation to retake Kunduz City from Taliban militants.
US-led coalition forces also conducted their first airstrike on Talban targets on the outskirts of Kunduz city in the morning.
The MoD said Afghan forces recaptured the police headquarters and the central jail from Taliban militants during the clearing operation launched on Tuesday morning.
The large number of rebels took control of military and civil facilities including the 200-bed civil hospital, the police headquarters, schools, markets and some provincial departments and set free hundreds of inmates from the central jail after capturing it, in what appeared to be the Taliban’s first major victory since 2001. The rebels on Monday set free hundreds of prisoners from Kunduz central jail after gaining control of it.
The MoD said the enemy was weak and could not put up resistance and security forces were advancing and that Kunduz City was currently surrounded by security forces and Taliban militants were inflicted heavy casualties during the ongoing operation.
Without giving exact figures, the statement said: “Taliban terrorists who are directed by regional intelligence agencies are fleeing Kunduz city, only some of them are firing from residential buildings at Afghan forces.” The MoD assured local residents that Afghan forces were taking all possible measures to protect their lives.
After entering Kunduz City, Taliban militants, the Haqqani network, and other insurgents misused the opportunity and looted people’s houses and their belongings, the MoD claimed.
“The capture of Kunduz City by Taliban is just a propaganda victory for the rebel group, we are sure these terrorists would not be able tostand ground against Afghan forces.”
Eyewitnesses had previously said except the airport and Bala Hesar area, all other areas of the city had fallen to the Taliban.
Afghan security forces are currently stationed in Kunduz airport, Bala Hesar and Bagh Sherkat areas.
A separate MoD statement issued on Monday evening said 35 militants had been killed and a number of others injured during clashes with Afghan forces.
However, the Taliban claimed they had captured large areas from government forces and had killed 15 soldiers during the attacks on the city. They also claimed seizing a large amount of weapons and equipment from security forces.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted early Tuesday that fresh Afghan troops had been sent to northern parts of the city, where an operation to clear Kunduz of Taliban had been initiated.
The Taliban reportedly also killed some female medics and tribal elders in the city; unverified pictures on social media show the Taliban driving International Committee of the Red Cross vehicles seized in Kunduz.
Afghan Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said: “Our hospitals in Kunduz province have received 172 injured patients and 16 dead bodies so far”.
An Afghan National Army (ANA) commander, who wished anonymity, said Afghan forces had started their operation from Kunduz airport and had crossed the Saydarak and University Square.
A resident of the city, Nawroz Kakar, said: “The situation is very dangerous, clashes are ongoing and heavy and small arms are being used.”
He said his home was near Kunduz central jail, which was the scene of fierce clashes between security forces and Taliban.
Heavy and small weapons fire hit some civilian houses, causing casualties to those living inside," he said.
“There is no government and all officials have fled, if there was any government, people would not have suffered as much as they did. People cannot go out of their houses,” Kakar said, adding that all shops and offices had been closed and the city looked like a military ground.
Another resident of the city, Mohammad Ullah, said jet aircrafts were hovering over the city. He said militants took out of their homes people they suspected of having links with the government and killed them.
But the Taliban in a statement received by Pajhwok Afghan News said the life in Kunduz province was “normal” and the government claims of retaking areas were baseless.
The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said US aircrafts bombarded two locations but no one from the militants got hurt.
Mujahid rejected government’s claims that the Taliban had torched government departments and looted moneychangers, banks, shops or people’s houses and said the government wanted to propagate against the militants and defame them.
He said Afghan forces were unable to retake control of Kunduz City as their reinforcements coming from Kabul were attacked in parts of Baghlan province.
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