Afghan forces ‘completely clear’ Kunduz after Taliban raid
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Afghan forces ‘completely clear’ Kunduz after Taliban raid

The Afghan Interior Ministry said in a statement that Kunduz had been “completely cleared” of Taliban militants by Sunday afternoon. It said 56 “terrorists” had been killed during clashes with the security forces. The ministry said 20 Afghan security forces and five civilians had also been killed and at least 85 civilians injured in the clashes. It was unclear whether the militants had been entirely decimated or merely pushed back to the outskirts of the city. Heavy fighting has been going on in Kunduz since Taliban militants mounted attacks on the city from several directions early on Saturday. The Taliban had attacked and briefly seized Kunduz once, in late September 2015. That seizure garnered particular global attention after a US gunship struck a hospital run by Doctors without Borders, killing dozens of patients and staff. In a separate incident on Sunday, an assailant carrying explosives struck a main square in Kunduz where Afghan forces had gathered to defend the city from falling to the Taliban, killing at least 10 soldiers and civilians. The Taliban claimed responsibility. In another development also on Sunday, a roadside bomb killed at least eight people, including women and children, traveling in a car in a district in the northern Balkh Province.  No group immediately claimed responsibility for that blast. But the Taliban use roadside bombs and landmines to attack security forces and civilians. The developments come as US and Taliban negotiators have been pursuing a deal in the Qatari capital, Doha, that could facilitate an end to the US’s longest war. Early Sunday morning, Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said the two sides were on the brink of a deal. Nearly 20,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, are currently deployed in Afghanistan.

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