KABUL Oct 4 Pockets of Taliban fighters held
out overnight against Afghan government forces in the northern
city of Kunduz, a police official said on Tuesday, a day after
the militants pushed deep into the city centre.
Taliban militants slipped past government defences early on
Monday and occupied or attacked central areas of Kunduz, almost
exactly a year after they briefly captured the city in one of
their biggest successes of the 15-year war.
The attack in Kunduz, as well as Taliban gains in areas of
Helmand and Uruzgan where they also threaten provincial
capitals, has underlined the insurgents' growing strength and
exposed weaknesses in the government, which is meeting
international donors in Brussels this week to try to secure
billions of dollars in additional aid.
Backed by U.S. special forces and air support as well as
warplanes of their own, Afghan soldiers and police sought to
clear the city overnight, said Kunduz police chief Qasim
Taliban fighters, seeking to reimpose Islamic law after
their 2001 ouster, remained in several areas of the city but
Afghan forces had made progress, he said.
"We have received reinforcement and have air support,"
Jangalbagh said. "More then 25 enemies are killed so far and we
have retaken several places. We are committed to clear the
Three members of the government security forces had been
killed, with another eight wounded, he reported.
As of late Monday night, the U.S. military command in Kabul
said it had yet to conduct air strikes in Kunduz against what
the Pentagon called a "Western-movie style shoot-them-up" raid
by the Taliban.
American special forces as well as aircraft were positioned
near the city to provide support if needed, officials said.
(Reporting by Afghanistan bureau; Writing by Josh Smith;
Editing by Nick Macfie)