Afghan forces reportedly repelled a complex Taliban assault on Kunduz (Kunduz province) on Saturday, August 31, with local officials claiming at least three civilians had been killed in addition to dozens of Taliban fighters. Taliban militants reportedly began the multi-front assault on the city around 00:01 on Saturday (local time), later embedding themselves among the local population. Light and heavy weapons fire was heard throughout the city amid intense clashes between Taliban militants and security forces. Power outages and cuts to telephone services were reported across the city amid the clashes and shops were closed. Afghan security forces had reportedly gained the upper hand in the fighting by Saturday evening.
Security forces' clearance operations are expected to continue over the coming hours. Similar Taliban attacks are to be expected in Afghanistan over the near term as US negotiators seek to finalize a deal with the militant group to withdraw American troops from the country.
This is the third time the city of Kunduz has come under a sustained, large-scale attack since 2015. Taliban militants launch attacks on government personnel, security forces, and civilians in Afghanistan on a near-daily basis. Such assaults are, in part, intended to undermine the perceived capacity of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) - and the Afghan government more broadly - to adequately provide security in the wake of the withdrawal of most US-led NATO forces from the country.
Individuals in Kunduz province are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid affected areas, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities or their home governments.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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