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Taliban take control of Khanabad

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Taliban fighters took the control of the strategic district of Khanabad in the northern Kunduz province Saturday after a several-hour clash, said officials.

“Taliban launched attacks and captured police headquarters, center of the district and a number of checkpoints in the district today morning,” said Hayatullah Amiri, the district chief.

Provincial police officials said that security forces tactically retreated from the district and were taking preparation to recapture the district.

Taliban launched their offensive over the district three days ago and fighting continues between the Afghan forces and Taliban in some parts of the district.

Electricity has been also cut in Kunduz city for two days, the officials noted.

According to a high-ranking security official in the province the Taliban also attacked Ali Abad district and clashes were underway between Afghan forces and Taliban in the district.

Taliban in a statement said that their fighters captured Khanabad district.

Kunduz has had the worst security environment in north for the past few weeks, Taliban attacked different district and captured more areas in the province.

Based on reports, over 80 percent of Kunduz province is out of government’s control.

Head of Kunduz Provincial Council Yusuf Ayubi recently told to media that I mentioned in the past 70 percent of Kunduz is under the control of militants, but now the percentage has increased.

Government has only control over four roads. Now Qala-e-Zal district has collapsed, and in addition to that parts of Imam Sahib and Dasht-e-Archi districts have fallen to militants nearly 80 percent of district is out of government’s control and this is concerning for us, said Zargul Alemi Deputy of Council.

Late evening, the provincial police spokesman Hejratullah Akbari claimed that the government had retaken the district from the Taliban. He said that heavy casualties were inflicted on the Taliban.

“We have retaken the district around 6:00 PM. Nearly 38 insurgents were killed and over 20 others injured,” the claimed.

However, the claims cannot be independently verified.

In a press conference on the same day at 7:00 PM, the spokesman for the defense ministry Dawlat Waziri confirmed fall of the district to the Taliban.

He said the security forces were engaged in fierce battle with the insurgents to retake the district.

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