After capturing the major northern hub ‘Kunduz’, Taliban easily pushed into nearby capital cities of Sar-i-Pul and Taliqan, leaving the Afghan Government sidelined
KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN – On Sunday 8th August, Afghan Taliban troops captured the northern city of Kunduz. Soon after capturing Kunduz, troops moved towards other the capital cities of Sar-i-Pul and Taliqan and successfully captured them. This surely was a hard blow towards the Afghan Government.
With US troops leaving in a month’s time and capturing more cities, the situation in Afghanistan is becoming more unstable with each passing day. While Taliban forces have previously captured much of Afghanistan’s rural area, the capture of Kunduz is the most significant victory for them. This is due to Kunduz’s economical and strategical importance.
The capture of Kunduz
Armed Taliban entered the city on Sunday morning and soon engaged into battle with Afghan forces in the city. The Afghan forces fought a hard battle however Taliban was able to overpower them. By early afternoon they had attacked numerous places and were able to successfully capture the city center and establish control.
The constant fights resulted in almost 14 deaths and left 30 injured. The city during the battle was defined as ‘chaos’, markets and buildings were burned down by armed Taliban’s. Smoke filled the sky above Kunduz and an increasing fear of the new ‘Taliban rule’ grew inside the residents of Kunduz.
Pro government forces in Kunduz, retreated and settled into army bases built on the outskirts of Kunduz, this left a lot of old government buildings and vehicles previously used by Afghani forces. Taliban fighters entered one of these abandoned compound and made a video.
People alongside their families left Kunduz and started living in camps set up in the nearby city of Asadabad. A woman at the camps in Asadabad said, “Many bombs were dropped on our village. They came and destroyed everything. We were helpless and had to leave our houses. Our children and ourselves are sleeping on the ground in dire conditions”.
Kunduz and its importance for Taliban
Soon after the capture of Kunduz, troops gathered and hoisted their flags throughout the city. This hoisting of Taliban flag in its main northern city was a major blow to the Afghan government. Kunduz is the most important city that Taliban has captured. Since Kunduz has a large population and is far more developed than the other cities around it. Kunduz also has a network of highways that links it to other cities in the northern Afghanistan thus making it easier for them to attack other northern cities.
Kunduz apart from having a strategic location is also a city that is important for the economy. The province of Kunduz also shares a border with Tajikistan, the border is a major hub for drug trafficking and trade. The capture of Kunduz is symbolic for Taliban, since they used to rule the city in 2001.
Situation in other parts of the country
The control of Kunduz surely gives Taliban a strong hold towards the northern side of Afghanistan. The situation in the other parts, is still a little difficult for them. Taliban apart from the three cities up north, holds the Afghan-Iran border town of Zaranj. The Taliban forces have constantly been trying to attack cities such as Lashkar Gah, Kandahar and Herat. All three of these cities are experiencing constant battles between the armed forces and Taliban.