Asia Pacific

AFGHANISTAN: Military and police battle Taliban for region

Afghanistan forces have launched a major fight against Islamist militant group, Taliban in a battle for the north-eastern provincial capital of Kunduz.

The fight reportedly includes the Afghan army and police, but there is no substantial help from foreign troops. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces have also reportedly turned down several requests to assist with air strikes.

In the same vein, provincial governor Mohammed Omer Safi has said the Afghan forces do not have enough air power and their helicopters lacked the armaments they should have.

BBC reports that the Taliban have come close to the city in recent fighting, leaving it cut off with tens of thousands of displaced.

Reports from Afghan officials say foreign jihadists trained by the Islamic State (IS) group are fighting alongside the Taliban.

Security forces and Taliban have reportedly been involved in a standoff for about a week after the insurgents launched an offensive on Kunduz at the end of April.

According to BBC correspondent, David Loyn, this fight is the first positive confirmation by a senior government official that ISIS are operating alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan, as prior to this point, ISIS fighters have often clashed with the Taliban especially in the south of the country.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 18 foreign fighters, including 2 women, were found after recent fighting.

The fight has also displaced many people across the city and rural areas of the province of Kunduz.

Also being a region that supplies half of Afghanistan's rice crop, Governor Safi has said that  if the fighting goes on in Kunduz, it could have a far-reaching impact beyond the lives affected in only that region.

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