Local officials confirmed Monday that the Afghan air force has carried out air strikes against Taliban strongholds on the outskirts of Kunduz city following a coordinated attack by the insurgent group overnight.
However, insurgents are believed to be hiding out in civilian homes, residents confirm. The city’s streets meanwhile were also largely deserted on Monday, with people holed up in their homes.
Shops and businesses are closed – as well as schools – while highways into the city are also closed to traffic.
Unconfirmed reports indicate the Taliban has advanced on the city and is close to the center.
Officials said that by late morning Monday, heavy clashes were still ongoing between insurgents and security forces.
They said that the Taliban launched a coordinated attack from four different directions overnight.
Earlier reports indicated that officials were confident insurgents would not be able to enter Kunduz city but residents claim the Taliban has managed to get in to some parts of the city.
In addition, residents claim the highway to Ali Abad district from the city is closed.
Kunduz residents also claim that currently clashes are ongoing in Bandar-e-Khan Abad, Se Sarak and Zakhil area in the western parts of the city.
But police officials said that the Taliban were defeated in Bandar-e-Imam Sahib, Bandar-e-Khan Abad and Angorbagh but that clashes are currently ongoing in Se Sarak area of the city.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the Taliban was pushed back from the city but that clashes are still ongoing in some parts of the city.
One policeman was killed and four others were injured so far, read the statement.
“If there is the need, more troops will be deployed to Kunduz,” it stated.
But reports suggest that Taliban have closed the Takhar and Baghlan highways into Kunduz, along with other major routes.
The Taliban meanwhile claimed on social media that it had overrun a number of police check posts in New Zabhel area of Kunduz.
On September 28 last year the Taliban carried out a coordinated attack on Kunduz – and took control of the city for three days.
This was the first time the group had seized a city since its ousting in 2001.
For three days, heavy clashes ensued between security forces and insurgents before troops managed to take back the city.