The Taliban said on Sunday that they had already occupied Kunduz, a key city in Afghanistan. A nearby AFP reporter confirmed this claim because of fierce fighting in the center of the second northern capital, Shalpur.
“Kunduz has fallen; the Taliban have taken all the key installations in the city,” an AFP correspondent said.
A member of Sar-e-Pul told AFP that the Taliban had entered the city center and “street fighting is ongoing.”
Since Friday, the Taliban have occupied two provincial capitals, but since the rebels launched an offensive in May, Kunduz, the northernmost region, will be the most important fall as foreign troops begin the final stage of retreat.
“The Taliban have reached the main square of the city. Aircraft are bombing them,” said Abdul Aziz, a resident reached by phone.
“There is total chaos.”
The Afghan government forces have basically handed over the countryside to militants, but are now scrambling to defend a series of cities across the country.
On Friday, the Taliban captured their first provincial capital Zaranji in Nimruz, and a day later they captured Sheberghan in Jazjan.