Afghanistan: Taliban storm Kunduz, resident states “city is completely with Taliban, ANSF are out”

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“Unit of Mujahideen containing 100 Taliban entered Kunduz City, the heavy clashes going on” (image via Sabiq Jihadmal)

Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan Taliban have taken over parts of the strategic city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan on Monday morning attacking from three sides. According to Al Jazeera the city was now in “lockdown”. This is a continuation of Operation Azm meaning “Resolve” which began on 24th April 2015. At its launch Taliban stated it was, “for the complete liberation of our beloved homeland from the yoke of foreign occupation and for the implementation of Islamic rule throughout the country, the Islamic Emirate is determined to prolong the ongoing Jihad against the foreign invaders as well as their internal stooges.”

BBC reported, “the assault was the second time this year that the Taliban have besieged Kunduz city, as the NATO-trained Afghan police and army fight largely without the help of foreign forces.” Smoke could be seen rising from buildings. The Taliban had time to tweet a series of photos from various parts of Kunduz and allegedly freed between 700-800 prisoners. After the initial breach of prison walls and a rush to break out, some former inmates could be seen moments later strolling casually hand in hand away from the jail. Then according to locals the Taliban allegedly “seized private banks”. Habibullah Helal, a Twitter account reporting jihad news claimed, “Provincial House under control, now full city in control of Mujahideen and they are advancing toward Airport.” This could not be independently confirmed.

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“The Mujahideen Entered To , Heavy Fighting Going On And Mujahideen Forwarding” (image via Sabiq Jihadmal)

Graeme Smith, Senior Analyst at Crisis group, Kabul stated,

“the situation in Kunduz city seems quite serious. After Taliban break into urban zones, hard to fight them with aircraft and artillery.

Unconfirmed reports that Taliban captured all gates of Kunduz city along with provincial hospital, the old German PRT, and a cotton factory.”

In a recent update, Ahmad Mukhtar, a CBS journalist said, “provincial capital of Kunduz has fallen to the hands of Taliban. This is the first time Taliban take control of a provincial capital since 2001”. Abdul Mateen Imran, a political and security analyst stated, “strong anti-Taliban Jamiati commander, Mir Alam, is outside the country (in Tajikistan) and his fighters didn’t defend Kunduz city today. However he went on to say, “Special Forces preparing to retake all positions. The situation will change in a few hours.”

A spokesperson for President Ashraf Ghani said, “he is aware of and directs officials on fluid situation in Kunduz; 1st priority is citizens’ safety; media brief by security officials @ 8p GMIC ” RFERL reported that, “Afghan special forces flown into Kunduz airport on C-130 aircraft to launch counter-attack to retake city” however this could prove to be difficult due to the risk of killing civilians during air strikes.

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Taliban raise their flag in Kunduz (Image via Habibullah Helah)

Abdulqahar Balkhi, a English speaking spokesperson affiliated with Islamic Emirate posted a series of tweets informing the public of their progress as follows,

BREAKING Mujahidin have begun large scale attacks on city from 3 axis early morning hours today

So far Za Khel, Imam Sahib Bandar, Khaki Bandar, Zar Kharid, Khakni, Se Darak areas+5 CPs overrun; 12 corpses left behind, equipment seized

Mujahidin have now entered Mandui Namak, Madrasa Takharistan & Estagah-e-Pul-e-Khumri; enemy in state of panic, more details later

Mujahidin urge all citizens of city to remain inside their homes throughout the fighting to avoid any harm

From direction of Kabul Bandar; Za Khel village, Se Darak, Assadullah Omar Khel building, Bagh Zara’at & 200 Bestar hospital overrun

Many vehicles+arms seized in these areas, several police also detained; Mujahidin battling enemy in other parts of city

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Military Send Reinforcements To From After Takes Control Of Parts Of City . … (via Eye on Militant)

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“The Mujahideen controlled that hospital in which enemies and puppets were under treatment” says Sabiq Jihadmal who posted the image above

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Fighters pose with doctors

Al Jazeera also reported that, “roads to the city had been blocked and some police stations within the city were surrounded by Taliban fighters”. Taliban had “reportedly taken control of a 200-bed hospital in the city”. Vice News stated,

“A hospital official confirmed Taliban fighters had entered the hospital briefly, apparently looking for wounded government fighters.

‘They just visited our rooms. They didn’t harm anybody and didn’t damage anything. They left soon after,’ said the official, who declined to be identified as he feared repercussions.”

Zabihullah Mujahid (Islamic Emirate spokesperson) tweeted,

“The Mujahideen (Taliban fighters) are trying to avoid any harm to Kunduz residents. Residents have to be assured they will not face any problem from our side”

Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF) informed that a “mass casualty plan” had been launched at their trauma centre in Kunduz with doctors treating influx of 66 wounded. They claimed there was heavy fighting and “the MSF hospital has received 66 patients including 8 dead on arrival, 17 in critical condition.” Kunduz trauma centre is the only facility of its kind in north-eastern Afghanistan where “doctors treat all wounded according to medical need”. A later update from Afghan journalist Ali M Latifi gave the following figures, “MSF has treated 102 injured, of them 36 in critical condition ‘severe abdominal and head injuries'”.

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Alleged casualties of today’s attack “puppet soldiers on the run” (tweeted by Khurassani313)  

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“Battle’s Martyrs! This Brother Martyred In Today Clashes In Central Kunduz City” (Image via Sabiq Jihadmal)

Habibullah Helal who tweets news of jihadic activities from inside Afghanistan tweeted the following,

TOP BREAKING NEWS Mujahideen have launched attacks on provincial city from 3 points, still advanced few km & dozens soldiers killed

Stay connected with us for latest offensives

UPDATE UNAMA and other NGOs International staff flee Kunduz city, after (Mujahideen) entered the city

UPDATE Mujahideen are inside city strategic parts are under tense attack, dozens soldiers killed/wounded

Allah o Akbar Kabira walhamdulellahi Kasira Public civilians are welcoming Mujahideen inside city

UPDATES Mujahideen Have Taken Control Of City’s Provincial Council building, The Peace Council Offices And Gen.Zakhilwal Home

Mujahidin have overrun main intersection, PD 2,3 & 5; many hirelings killed, equipment seized, clearance ongoing

Mujahideen in center of town, clearance operation going on. Heavy fighting in Dawra & around airport

 

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“From Kunduz City. The Mujahideen In Progress And Liberating New Areas” (Images Sabiq Jihadmal and Habihullah Helal

 

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Khurassani313 tweeted, Taliban broke prison Prisoners freed

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Muslim Shirzad at Tolo news posted images of prisoners strolling away from the prison

The news now confirmed is another major blow to the Afghan government. Earlier this month (September 2015) Taliban launched a major prison break at Ghazni freeing around 400 inmates see following link,

“Afghanistan: Taliban statement on Ghazni prison break”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/afghanistan-taliban-statement-on-ghazni-prison-break/

Khurassani313 who posts news of Taliban activities tweeted,

“Taliban says v r now in the central square of city, many posts overrun and many bodies of killed soldiers lying here”

Ehsanullah Ehsan, Stabilization Manager at international development agency DAI who said he was inside Kunduz said,

“Kunduz city is completely with Taliban, ANSF are out. The city is completely with Taliban now, Taliban walking inside streets, I am trapped at home. Update Kunduz photos, Taliban inside the city, looking for government vehicles.”

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Nightime in Kunduz, Taliban remain in control (Image Habibullah Helal)

As TOLO reported, the blame gain as to who is responsible for the fall of Kunduz has already begun and could risk the security of neighbouring Takhar and Badakhshan. TOLO said,

“Kunduz was conquered from the inside. It was stated several times that opponents have infiltrated the government,” military commentator Atiqullah Amarkhail said.

“The reluctance of government to fight the opponents in one hand, the strong presence of Taliban on the other, and also the lack of coordination among the security forces and lack of support to security forces has led to the collapse of Kunduz,” political analyst Abdul Shokor Salangi said.

Islamic Emirate statement on liberation of Kunduz

The Taliban quickly moved to issue a statement from their leader, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansur reassuring residents that they would be safe under their control stating,

“Mujahideen should give all of their attention to safeguarding the lives, property and honor of the respected citizens of the city of Kunduz after ending combat operations and securing their military objectives”

and of a reconciliatory nature to officials saying,

Our message to government officials and security personnel who are thinking about resistance or are hiding in fear of retribution is that they should abandon all negative thoughts spread about Mujahideen due to enemy propaganda.

Mujahideen are not thinking about retribution but have come with a message of peace. Mujahideen were against such people due to them standing and carrying out duties in the ranks of the invaders and its stooge regime. If they regret their former actions and renounce links with the opposition then the gates of forgiveness of the Islamic Emirate are open upon them. They can confidently establish links with the Mujahideen by utilizing the Dawat wal Irshad (Call and Guidance) program, thus securing their lives and properties.”

See full statement on link below:

“Afghanistan: Statement by the leader of Islamic Emirate on liberation of Kunduz city”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/afghanistan-statement-by-the-leader-of-islamic-emirate-statement-on-liberation-of-kunduz-city/

Islamic Emirate issued a further statement to reassure NGOs and companies, see below,

“Afghanistan: Islamic Emirate statement to NGOs and Companies ‘to continue work as normal'”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/afghanistan-islamic-emirate-statement-to-ngos-and-companies-to-continue-their-work-normally/

Links

“Future of Afghan Local Police (Crisis group)”

http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/south-asia/pakistan/268-the-future-of-the-afghan-local-police.pdf

 

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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