Fighting rages in Afghanistan's Kunduz for second day
Oct.4, Kabul: Afghan forces say they have regained control of Kunduz city centre from the Taliban, but heavy fighting continued in and around the provincial capital for a second day.
Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh, Kunduz's police chief, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed in the clashes and that the group was "cleared" from the centre of the city.
The ambitious assault on Kunduz came almost exactly a year after the Taliban briefly captured the city in one of its biggest successes in 15 years of fighting.
The attack in Kunduz, as well as Taliban gains in areas of Helmand and Uruzgan where they also threaten provincial capitals, has underlined the group's growing strength and exposed weaknesses in the government, which is meeting foreign donors in Brussels this week to try to secure billions of dollars in extra aid.
Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said one major problem facing Afghan forces was that Taliban fighters had infiltrated "residential areas and in many cases homes, making it difficult to distinguish between civilians and the Taliban".
"Witnesses say gunfire can still be heard around the city, that battles are going on from street to street as the Afghan special forces try to get the Taliban out," Glasse said.
"They have largely put themselves in civilian areas. The Taliban do have some civilian sympathisers in Kunduz, which made their move into the city a little bit easier."
NATO, which is backing Afghan forces in with air raids, implied in a tweet that they had the upper hand in the battles, saying the government "controls Kunduz city".
US Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis, though, described the situation as "fluid".
Charles Cleveland, a spokesman for the NATO-led mission in Kabul, said in a statement: "Our Afghan partners are responding to the increased Taliban activity within the area, and US forces have multiple assets and enablers in the area to provide support."
The Oslo Times International News Network