ISIL Attacks Afghan Troops after Taliban Take Key City
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Approximately 500 ISIL militants attacked several Afghan security force checkpoints on Tuesday in Achin district, east of Nangarhar province.
30 ISIL fighters were killed in the attacks, and the militants eventually retreated, Police Spokesman for Nangarhar Province Hazrat Husain Mashriqiwal said.
Meanwhile, Taliban gunmen fanned out in full force Tuesday across a key Afghan city they captured the day before, as the US military carried out an airstrike on Kunduz and President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take the northern city back from the insurgents, urging his nation to trust Afghan troops to do the job.
The Afghan military launched a counter-offensive on the city, Ghani said in a televised address to the nation, adding that his security forces are "retaking government buildings ... and reinforcements, including special forces and commandos are either there or on their way there."
"The enemy has sustained heavy casualties," said Ghani, who marked his first anniversary in office on Tuesday, CBS News reported. He urged his nation to trust Afghan troops and not give in to "fear and terror."
But Monday's multi-pronged assault on Kunduz took the Afghan authorities and military officials by surprise. Hundreds of Taliban members launched a coordinated attack and after a day of fierce fighting, they managed to overrun government buildings and hoisted their flag in the city square.
Taliban gunmen were patrolling the streets of Kunduz on Tuesday, setting up checkpoints, searching for government loyalists and sealing off exit routes for anyone who wished to escape.
In Kabul, the National Security Council was meeting to discuss the development. The number of dead and wounded in the fighting was unclear.
Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the Public Health Ministry said on his Twitter account that Kunduz hospitals received "172 wounded patients and 16 dead bodies so far."
The Taliban issued a statement, attempting to reassure residents of Kunduz that they were safe. Hours after the fall, people had streamed out of the city late Monday.
The Defense Ministry said government forces had already retaken some parts of the city early Tuesday, including a newly-built police headquarters and the prison in Kunduz. Reinforcements, including special forces, were sent to the region from across the country.
Kunduz is one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Afghanistan, and the surrounding province, also called Kunduz, is one of the country's chief breadbaskets and has rich mining assets. It lies on a strategic crossroads connecting Afghanistan to Pakistan, China and Central Asia.