Taliban take Afghan city of Kunduz, biggest conquest to date

Taliban fighters are rapidly capturing ground in the Afghan government army. International media report, based on local officials, that the extremist Islamic movement has Kunduz in their hands. The Taliban itself claims to hold all major buildings in the city.

It is the third provincial capital in 48 hours to be captured by the Taliban. On Friday, the southern provincial capital Zaranj was captured, yesterday Sheberghan followed in the north. The northern provincial town of Sar-e Pol would have been taken by now, reports AFP and DPA news agency.

Pictures show that Taliban fighters walk through the centre of Kunduz. Afghan government forces would have largely retreated to the nearby airport. The Department of Defense denies that the city has been completely conquered; special commands would be in operation to drive the Taliban back out of town.

These images show a big fire raging:

A resident of the city speaks of โ€œtotal chaosโ€. It‘s unclear how many deaths and wounded have fallen.

The Afghan Department of Defense reports that in the last 24 hours 572 Taliban fighters have been killed in battles in Kunduz, Uruzgan and Kandahar, among others. 309 militants have also been injured.

The Dutch army was active in the Kunduz province for years. From 2011 to 2013, agents were supported with training. Shortly thereafter, in 2015, Taliban fighters managed to drive the Afghan government army out of town again. After a counterattack, supported by the United States Air Force, they left town again.

That’s what the Dutch missions in Afghanistan looked like. Twenty years, in exactly four minutes:

The Dutch Embassy has called on Dutch people in Afghanistan to leave as soon as possible. They cannot be evacuated due to the deteriorated state of safety.

More and more cities conquered

Since Western NATO countries withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, the Muslim Taliban movement has been on a rise in the country. The Afghan army does not seem to withstand the Taliban fighters.

Major checkpoints have been taken over the last few weeks. The situation on the ground is diffuse, but according to observers, Taliban fighters now hold half of the territory. So far, Taliban fighters have been particularly powerful in the Afghan countryside, but for two weeks, crucial cities have been fighting for crucial cities.

Capital Kabul has been shocked by targeted attacks on governments in recent days. On Wednesday, a bomb exploded in the heavily secured Sherpur district, near the Secretary of Defense‘s house. On Friday, the Afghan government’s head of communication was shot dead. Yesterday, an air force pilot was killed in a bombing.

Since last year, Qatar has been conducting peace talks between representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government. Those conversations had little results so far.