KUNDUZ , Afghanistan, Oct. 3 (UPI) — Taliban insurgents launched a coordinated attack Monday morning on Kunduz, Afghanistan, a city it briefly held last year, police said.
The assault came from four directions before the militants entered the city. Residents attempted to leave the city, and shops were closed as Afghan military helicopters circled the city, some traveling to within 1 mile of the governor’s compound. There were no reports of casualties. Gunfire was heard throughout Kunduz, a northern Afghanistan city of about 270,000 people, which experienced sporadic bouts of heavy fighting all summer.
Civilians were reported in the crossfire of the battles, and both Taliban and Afghan homes were commandeered to use in fighting the other side. One resident, Sardar Murady, said the Taliban “told us not to lock the gates to our houses,” The New York Times reported.
“We are putting all our efforts together to push them back,” said Sheer Ali Kamal, commander of the Kunduz police zone.
The Afghan Interior Ministry and the American-led NATO mission downplayed fears that the city was on the verge of again falling to the Taliban. Coalition spokesman
Gen. Charles Cleveland said, “We are aware of reports of ongoing sporadic fighting in Kunduz and are coordinating closely with our Afghan partners to assist, and adding no evidence “to support the reports that Kunduz is under significant attack” has been observed.
The attack on Kunduz came as Taliban forces increased operations in various sections of Afghanistan, including the southern province of Helmand; an assault on the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah has been in progress for weeks.