Afghan forces struggle to retake Kunduz from Taliban

30 Sep 2015 | By Vijaya

Afghan forces continued to struggle to mount a credible response to the Taliban's seize of Kunduz.

A promised counterattack by Afghan forces to retake Kunduz collapsed as hundreds of soldiers and civilians reportedly fled to the city's airport, where they were surrounded by insurgent forces.

US condemned the attack and got involved by conducting two air strikes, in support of the Afghan government.

In context: Taliban strikes again in Afghanistan

1996-2001 The Taliban rule

The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s, following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

It formed a government, ruled as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until December 2001.

After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Taliban were overthrown by the American-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Ever since, it has regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the Afghan government.

Jul-Sep 2015Peace talks on hold: Taliban leader declared dead

The confirmation of Taliban leader Mullah Omar's death threw the fledgling Afghan peace process into disarray, with planned-talks between the government and the Taliban postponed.

The two sides had met for inaugural-negotiations early July in Pakistan.

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, Taliban's new leader has hinted he was open to peace talks if foreign troops are expelled and the security deal with the US is scrapped.

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US troops in Afghanistan

The US and Afghan governments signed an agreement in September 2014 allowing 13,000 foreign troops, most of them from the US, to stay on and support the government's counter-terrorism efforts.

28 Sep 2015Taliban seizes Kunduz city in Afghanistan

Taliban militants took control of most of the city of Kunduz, seizing key government buildings.

Kunduz, one of the largest cities in northern Afghanistan, lies on a strategic crossroad connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan, China and Central Asia.

It is also symbolic as Kunduz was Taliban's former northern stronghold.

It is suspected that the assault may be a part of a larger Taliban offensive.

1st major takeover after 2001

The take over of Kunduz was the biggest Taliban victory since they were toppled from power in 2001's US-led invasion. Before Monday's incursion, the Taliban had made two attempts this year to capture Kunduz city.

29 Sep 2015Afghan president vows to retake Kunduz

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed to retake the city of Kunduz from the Taliban.

In a televised address to the nation, Ghani, who was marking the anniversary of his ascent to the presidency, said Afghan forces had launched a counteroffensive in Kunduz.

He further said that the security forces had retaken some government buildings and that the Taliban had "sustained heavy casualties".

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30 Sep 2015Afghan forces struggle to retake Kunduz from Taliban