Taliban seizes most of key Afghan province capital as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal
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Taliban fighters seized most of the capital of northern Afghanistan’s key Kunduz province on Sunday, and won a monthslong siege of a neighboring provincial capital — the latest in a series of blows to government forces as U.S. troops complete their pullout after two decades in the country.
Two provincial council members said the Taliban took control of the governor’s office and police headquarters after a day of firefights, as well as the main prison building, where 500 inmates including Taliban fighters were freed.
If Kunduz, capital of the province of the same name, falls, it would be a significant gain for the Taliban and a test of their ability to take and retain territory in their campaign against the Western-backed government.
It is one of the country’s larger cities with a population of more than 340,000, and was a key area defended against Taliban takeover by Western troops over the years.
Councilman Ghulam Rabani Rabani said that fighting was continuing at the city’s airport and other parts of the city. Kunduz is a strategic crossroads with good access to much of northern Afghanistan as well as the capital, Kabul, about 200 miles away.
Another provincial council member from Kunduz, Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi also said that Afghan forces only control the airport and main army barracks, and that the Taliban control all of Kunduz besides those areas.would not be war of words over reaction than being proactive.