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Taliban Launch Attack On Northern Afghan City, Capture Southern District


Afghan National Army commandos take their positions during a military operation in Helmand province on October 2.

Afghan officials say Taliban fighters have launched a coordinated attack on the northern city of Kunduz, capturing a district in the south of the country.

The militants attacked Kunduz from four sides just after midnight on October 3, triggering heavy fighting with government forces.

At least one policemen was killed and four others were wounded in the fighting, according to the Interior Ministry.

The head of the police coordination office in Kunduz, Mohammadullah Bahej, said the militants had been pushed back but that fighting continued on the outskirts of the city.

Kunduz provincial council member Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani warned that the province was on the verge of collapse. He said civilians in Kunduz are panicked and trying to flee but they are caught in the middle of fighting.

"Please help us to get rid of this chaos and crisis, or our people will be killed," he said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attackers had captured several checkpoints in the city.

Kunduz fell for a few days to the Taliban one year ago in a battle that the UN said left 289 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

Afghan policeman take position during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 3.
Afghan policeman take position during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 3.

Meanwhile, in the southern province of Helmand, officials said militants seized a district to the south of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, killing the local police chief.

A police official said the fighting in the Nawa district between security forces and Taliban militants was ongoing.

Helmand’s provincial spokesman, Omar Zhwak, said government reinforcements have pushed the Taliban outside Nawa’s district center.

The district is adjacent to the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, which has been under a virtual Taliban siege for months.

The attacks come ahead of an international donor conference starting in Brussels on October 4, where Afghanistan's international partners will discuss aid to the country.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, and the BBC

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