Kunduz residents struggle as battle rages on

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Kunduz/Kabul (dpa) – Residents of Kunduz complained they were struggling to find daily necessities Friday as efforts by security forces to retake the city in northern Afghanistan ran into a second day.

The Afghan government retook all the government buildings and police posts on Thursday, and the “infantry troops are conducting house-to-house searches for the Taliban that may be hiding inside residential houses,” said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, the Kunduz police spokesman.

“Today the situation in the city is better … The city centre is under our control, but there are still some firefights going on in the outskirts of the city,” he said.

The government was trying its best to bring the situation back to normal again, he said.

But residents disputed the claim, saying while the government buildings were under the control of Afghan forces, the battle for the streets and neighbourhoods was still not over.

“Taliban still control parts of the city and they are battling Afghan forces to retake control of the ground they have lost,” said Sayed Asadullah Sadat, an elected member of Kunduz provincial council.

He said residents are concerned about their safety since the government forces were not able to retake the entire city.

“Residents have no electricity, no running water, and major food shortages,” Sadat said. “The government and aid agencies have done nothing to assist people in this dire situation.”

One of the residents said bullets hit their home and a rocket landed outside in the street.

“The government is not telling the truth. They have not cleared the city of Taliban. At least half of the city is controlled by the fighters,” said Baryalai, a resident of Kunduz city.

“Most of the families are stuck inside. We cannot get out for fear of being caught in the crossfire. Our children are starving and families who are able to flee have little to nothing financially to continue their trip,” the resident said.

Kunduz city, with a population of 300,000 people, was overrun by hundreds of Taliban militants on Monday in a surprise assault, pushing government forces back to the local airport.

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