The Taliban have captured the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. The city's main government institutions have been captured by the radical Islamists, three provincial councils confirmed to German Press Agency on Sunday. Earlier, the Taliban had announced the capture of Kunduz. A large Bundeswehr field camp used to be located near Kunduz.
Kunduz had long been besieged by Taliban fighters. In the past two days, the Islamists have intensified their attacks, provincial councilors said. Apart from a military base about three kilometers from the city center and the airport, the Taliban now controlled the entire city. That is where government officials fled, they said. The people in the city had neither water nor food. They were hiding in their homes.
Kunduz, with its population of about 370,000, is also of great importance to the Bundeswehr, which withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of June after nearly 20 years. From 2003 to 2013, German soldiers monitored security in the north of the country from the Kunduz field camp. Here, German soldiers fought battles with the Taliban that lasted for hours. Nowhere in Afghanistan were more Germans killed than in Kunduz and the neighboring province of Baghlan. Last year, around 100 German soldiers were still stationed in "Camp Pamir."
Since 2015, Kunduz has already fallen into the hands of the radical Islamists three times.
A few hours after capturing Kunduz, the Taliban captured the provincial capital of Sar-i-Pul in northwestern Afghanistan. "The Taliban have surrounded an army battalion on the outskirts of the city. All other parts of the city are under Taliban control," Mohammed Hussein Mujahidsada, a member of the Sar-i-Pul provincial council, said Sunday. The Taliban have thus captured four provincial capitals since Friday. Before Kunduz and Sar-i-Pul, they occupied Sheberghan in northern Afghanistan's Jausjan province and the southwestern capital of Nimrus province, Saranj.
Afghan forces have been fighting the Taliban on numerous fronts since the withdrawal of international troops. Their fighters already control large parts of the rural regions and are now intensifying the pressure on provincial capitals such as Herat near the border with Iran and Lashkar Gah and Kandahar in the south.
Image by Amber Clay