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World

Afghan forces prepare to retake city

September 29, 2015 6:10 pm

Afghan forces have arrived at Kunduz airport in preparation for a counter-attack on the embattled city, seized by the Taliban on Monday.

An operation would be launched in the coming hours, a spokesman for the Kunduz provincial police told the BBC.

Troops and officials retreated to the airport after militants overran the northern city capturing buildings and and freeing hundreds from jail.

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The attack comes as President Ashraf Ghani completes one year in office.

It is one of the most significant militant assaults in years and will pile pressure on Ghani’s unity government – Kunduz would be the first provincial capital taken by the Taliban since they lost power in 2001’s US-led invasion.

The BBC’s Dawood Azami said that, although the attack is one of the most serious security breaches since the start of the Taliban insurgency 14 years ago, the main challenge will now be to hold the city.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that fighters would make an advance on the airport too, but witnesses told BBC Afghan there was no sign of any such movement yet. There were few signs of fighting overnight and the city remained without power overnight, BBC Afghan learned.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières‎ said it was treating more than 100 people wounded in heavy fighting and its facility in the city was now full.

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