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Taliban launch assault on strategic northern city Kunduz

By Andrew V. Pestano
Taliban launch assault on strategic northern city Kunduz
Afghan security forces fought a Taliban assault in the city of Kunduz launched early Monday. Violence has increased in Afghanistan since most U.S. and NATO forces left in 2014. File photo by Tia Sokimson/U.S. Army | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The Taliban launched an attack Monday on Afghanistan's strategic northern city of Kunduz, a former stronghold of the militant Islamist group.

The attack was launched at about 3 a.m. from several directions and appeared to be one of the most significant assaults by the Taliban on a provincial capital, {link:the BBC reported. Hundreds of militants were reportedly engaged in the attack.

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Kunduz was the Taliban's former northern stronghold before their overthrow in 2001. Kunduz province supplies half of the country's rice and holds major roads connecting central and northern Afghanistan, including a road to Kabul.

Taliban fighters briefly entered a hospital in the Kunduz assault and then posted photographs on social media. There was heavy fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security forces at a nearby university. Most local officials and foreign NGO aid workers went to the city's airport to seek shelter.

In southwest Kunduz, some local communities picked up weapons and joined the Taliban insurgents in fighting, The Guardian reported. There have been casualties on both sides of the assault.

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