Tens of thousands displaced as Kunduz fighting continues

Nearly 24,000 residents have been forced to leave the Afghan city of Kunduz due to ongoing fighting between security forces and Taliban militants, according to the UN.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said late Sunday most internally displaced persons (IDPs) had moved to the cities of Taloqan, Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif and Pul-e Khurmi. 

According to the Afghan Ministry of Refugees the number of those forced to flee could rise up to 100,000.

"Shelter, sanitation, food, and medical assistance to wounded, children, pregnant/lactating mothers and chronically ill IDPs are most important," OCHA said. 

The Taliban attack on Kunduz started last Monday, a year after the militant group took hold of the strategically important city for two weeks before being driven out by Afghan forces.

According to Kunduz provincial council member Sayed Assadullah Sadat, little has changed in the past week as government forces battle Taliban across the city.

"Afghan army commandos clear an area at night and by morning Taliban take it back," said Sadat. 

Meanwhile the Afghan government said the city centre had been cleared of Taliban fighters and that operations were underway on the outskirts to push back the insurgents. 

"More than 200 Taliban militants have been killed in the past week," said Mahfozullah Akbari, a spokesman for the northern zone police. 

He said "the reason for the slow clearance operation is because security forces do not want to bring harm to civilians."  

According to media reports, the US have conducted more than 20 airstrikes to aid Afghan forces in the fighting.  

Last update: Mon, 10/10/2016 - 10:47
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