Afghan forces, aided by U.S. airstrikes, failed to retake the city of Kunduz that was captured by the Taliban on Monday—the militant group’s biggest prize since it was ousted from power following the U.S.-led invasion of 2001.
U.S. planes struck Taliban targets near the city’s airport, driving the militants back. The airport is where government troops and civilians fled after the Taliban overran the city. The Afghan government has sent reinforcements to Kunduz, the capital of the province of the same name. A NATO spokesman said special forces from the military alliance were on the ground in Kunduz, advising their Afghan counterparts. Agence France-Presse reported the forces were from the U.S., Britain, and Germany.
The New York Times quoted Afghan government officials as saying U.S. special forces “headed out toward the city with Afghan commandos.” Their role there wasn’t clear, but the Times added: “[A]t least one American operation in the city of Kunduz failed. An Afghan security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that American forces had sought to resupply a group of beleaguered Afghan soldiers trapped in an ancient fortress north of the city.”
The progress of government reinforcements has been slowed by Taliban ambushes in the roads leading up to the city, as well as landmines.