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  •  Wounded Afghan men receive treatment at a hospital one day after the start of the Taliban spring offensive, in Kunduz province, Afghanistan April 13, 2019.

    Wounded Afghan men receive treatment at a hospital one day after the start of the Taliban spring offensive, in Kunduz province, Afghanistan April 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 April 2019

Taliban militia attacked the town form various directions and the sound of gunfire echoed outside the city.

Taliban forces stormed the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan Saturday leaving at least eight people dead and over 60 wounded, local officials reported.

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The echo of exploding bombs shook the northern Afghan city sending 62 armed fighters to nearby hospitals for treatment and at least eight others to the morgue, Naeem Mangal, the head of the regional Kunduz hospital, told AFP.

According to reports, Taliban militia attacked the town form various directions and the sound of gunfire could be heard from outside the city.

However, this was not the group’s only violent attack this week. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack on Nangarhar’s district headquarters on Friday, which lead to the deaths of 27 Taliban fighters and two Afghan troops, the governor spokesman, Attahullah Khogyani, said.

There were also attacks in the northern provinces of Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan, as well as Faryab, Sar-e Pul and Balkh, but there were no reports of significant casualties among security forces.

In southern Afghanistan, Taliban forces launched attacks in the opium-rich province of Helmand, with operations in Nad Ali, Gereshk and Sangin districts, areas that have been fought over for the past 17 years.

Omar Zwak, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said the attacks had been repelled at the cost of four soldiers and 15 Taliban. “The fighting will further increase as the weather warms up,” he said.

The slew of attacks came just as the annual spring offensive dawned in the region, initiating a traditional fighting season, which the Taliban christened this year “Operation Faith.”

While much of the fighting consisted of small-scale engagements, the spread of operations across most parts of the country underlined the struggle facing the Afghan government, still shut out of the peace process by the Taliban’s refusal to talk to what they consider a puppet administration.

Peace talks are due to resume in Doha next week between U.S. envoy Khalilzad and Taliban officials.

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