Inching Forward, Breaking Through

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by Kathy Whitehead

TOLO news

30 September 2015

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With the only three access roads into Kunduz closed by the Taliban, thousands of reinforcement troops are having to fight their way through heavy insurgent defense lines in order to reach the city.

Two key highways, the Kunduz-Baghlan highway and the Kunduz-Takhar highway are not only littered with landmines in a number of districts but have also been blocked off by insurgents with rocks and trees. In addition, the Taliban lies in wait for the troops and ambush them as they inch their way towards Kunduz city.

Scores of heavy-duty military vehicles including troop carriers and tanks currently line the Kunduz-Baghlan highway as they wait for ground forces to break through defense lines.

The third highway – between Kunduz and Balkh – has been impassable for a few months after the Taliban blew up a connecting bridge.

TOLOnews journalists embedded with troops on the Kunduz-Baghlan highway report that security forces have however managed to break through some defense lines – specifically after a night of heavy fighting.
But at least 10 security force members were injured in these offensives. Taliban casualties are not known.

Tamim Hamid reports that officials say with increased air support, reinforcement troops will breach all defense lines and reach Kunduz city by tonight.

Troops on the ground told TOLOnews that they have come in from different provinces and are committed to eliminating the Taliban in Kunduz.

They also said that more deminers are being deployed so as to clear the highway of IEDs.

Some troops are however, already stationed at the Kunduz airport, on the outskirts of the city. Among them include over 700 commandos that were sent in a month ago, said National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Rahmatullah Nabil on Wednesday.

These troops came under heavy fire on Tuesday night as the Taliban closed in on them. However, after heavy clashes the troops were able to push back the Taliban with the help of coalition air support.

With these troops are coalition forces, which, according to a NATO spokesman, are there to support and advise the Afghan contingent.

The forces are reportedly comprised of US, British and German troops.

What is however, of major concern to government is that Kunduz city is fairly densely populated and ensuring the safety of civilians is a priority for them…

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http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/21634-troops-inch-forward-break-through-defense-lines

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