Afghani military forces are entering their second day of fighting with the Taliban over the northern city of Kunduz. Taliban militants took control of the city on Monday, and have since been bombarded by both US airstrikes and Afghan troops in attempts to take it back.
The capture of Kunduz is seen as the Taliban’s biggest victory since the US-led invasion in 2001, and will certainly hinder peace talks with the Afghan Government. The siege is viewed as particularly hampering to the peace process, as Kunduz was the last city the Taliban lost control of in 2001, and is the first major one they have since taken back.
Since the withdrawal of most of NATO’s forces at the end of 2014, the Taliban have been gathering in both strength and numbers, prompting fears of even more instability throughout Afghanistan. In recent years militants have usually stuck to attacking rural areas and NATO troops, and this siege is seen by many as an aggressive tactic by newly appointed leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.
Fighting is also said to be continuing in neighbouring provinces, such as Baghlan and Takhar, whilst the Taliban also claim to have taken control of another district in the western Farah province.