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Taliban fail to capture Kunduz, Helmand: official

AT-KABUL: Defense Ministry said Monday that Taliban insurgents failed to capture strategic city of Kunduz in the north and Helmand provinces in the south despite repeatedly carrying out attacks.

“The Taliban insurgents used all effort to capture the two strategic cities besides aiming to capture several other provinces,” defense minister Abdullah Habibi briefed the lawmakers.

He added that the security forces managed to repulse major attacks carried out by Taliban insurgents in the cities.

“The security forces conducted over 1,000 operations this year to suppress the insurgent activities and we were successful during the operations,” Habibi said.

The group launched numerous attacks across the country, including capital Kabul as they vowed to continue to their insurgency despite efforts by the government to end the violence through reconciliation.

Taliban fighters shortly captured Kunduz city in October, the second time within a year.

They have retained presence in the surrounding areas ever since and launched another assault on the center of Kunduz earlier October but the security forces repulsed the Taliban attacks and retake the provincial capital just days after.

Kunduz is one of Afghanistan’s largest cities and has long been a strategically important transport hub for the north of the country.

But it has always held symbolic significance for the Taliban because it was a key northern stronghold before 2001, when the group was ousted from power.

It is worthy to mention Taliban insurgents made an unusual bid to capture a provincial capital, a failed assault that underscored their heightened boldness in recent months, an official said in October.

The Taliban control or have influence on about 10 percent of the Afghan areas.

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