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June 26, 2021 10:07 am

Thousands Displaced by Fighting Around Northern Afghan City

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avatar by i24 News

Afghan security forces stand guard at an Afghan National Army outposts after an attack by Taliban militants, in Kunduz Province on March 4, 2020. Photo: STR/AFP

i24 News – About 5,000 Afghan families have fled their homes in Kunduz after days of fighting between the Taliban and government forces, officials said Saturday, with the insurgents continuing to surround the key northern city.

The Taliban briefly seized the city twice in recent years but have now captured the surrounding districts and a nearby border crossing with Tajikistan.

Many people took refuge in a school in the city and had been provided with food and other relief items, Kunduz provincial council member Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani said.

Video footage taken by AFP showed dozens of people, many of them women and children, sitting inside tents set up in a school compound.

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Kunduz city’s public health director Ehsanullah Fazli said that since the fighting erupted more than a week ago, 29 civilians have been killed and 225 wounded.

Fighting has raged across Kunduz province for days, with the Taliban and Afghan forces engaged in bloody battles.

On Tuesday the insurgents captured Shir Khan Bandar, Afghanistan’s main border crossing with Tajikistan, in one of their most significant gains in recent months.

Violence surged after the US military began the withdrawal of its last remaining 2,500 troops from the country to meet the September 11 deadline announced by President Joe Biden to end America’s longest war.

Peace talks between the two warring sides remain deadlocked in Qatar.

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