In the early hours of Monday, Taliban insurgents overran Kurduz, a major city in northern Afghanistan. A local Afghan journalist spoke to us of the chaos and destruction that ensued.
France 24 spoke to this local journalist on Monday afternoon by phone. The conversation was interrupted by fighting that forced our Observer to seek shelter. This is what he told us:
“Overnight, small groups of Taliban fighters – 15 or so men per group – entered Kunduz from different points and started attacking different spots across the city. The soldiers fled, so they easily took over all the official buildings, including the hospital and the prison, from which they freed hundreds of prisoners [Editor’s note: According to local authorities, these prisoners included many Taliban insurgents].”
Plumes of smoke rising above rooftops in Kunduz. Video filmed Monday.
By the morning, the Taliban controlled about half the town. There were pockets of resistance from militiamen funded by the central government, but there were not enough of them. By this afternoon, the Taliban had taken over the whole of our city of Kunduz. Most of the city is deserted; all the stores are closed and most people are staying indoors. I saw them arresting some people and putting them in 4x4s. I don’t know where they’re taking them. Word is they’re looking for anyone belonging to the police or the army, or working with international organizations. These people are trying to hide. The Taliban don’t seem to be targeting anyone else; it seems they’re trying to behave well with ordinary citizens.
They’ve set up roadblocks, and control all the transport of food and goods going in and out of town. [Editor’s Note: Kunduz is on a major road linking Kabul to Tajikistan].
Initially published on France24 on 09/28/2015
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