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article imageAmid reports of imminent Afghan peace deal fighting intensifies

By Ken Hanly     Sep 2, 2019 in World
While officials on both sides insist that a US Taliban peace deal is imminent fighting is actually intensifying. The Taliban has started battles in two cities and the Afghan forces launched airstrikes in the northern province of Faryab.
Taliban attack northern city of Kunduz
There have been many casualties as the Taliban contest control of the city with Afghan forces. A recent article reports: "At least 20 Afghan security force members and five civilians were killed and 80 others, mostly civilians, were wounded in Taliban attack on the city of Kunduz which continued for more than 24 hours, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Sunday. The clashes left 56 Taliban fighters dead, the statement said. Taliban has not commented on their casualties in Kunduz battle. "
This is the third time in five years that the Taliban have attacked the city. The attack took place around 1:30 AM on Sunday from 3 directions according to the Afghan Interior Ministry. The Ministry said the situation was back to normal and police had cleared all areas of the Taliban. However another report said that there was no sign of the Taliban giving up on their attack.
Attack on city of Puli Khumri
Although not as large as Kunduz, Puli Khumri is also a provincial capital. The Taliban have not as yet been completely repelled from the city as fighting is continuing on the outskirts.
Some observers are speculating that the Taliban are attempting to shore up gains at the last minute. However, the Afghan forces too are trying to gain some advantages at the last minute. Both sides may be striving for some extra leverage at the peace talks.
Afghans carry out airstrikes in Faryab province
A member of the Faryab Provincial Council, Sibghatullah Selab said that the strikes were In the Garziwan district of the northern province of Faryab on Saturday evening. Selab claimed that at least 12 civilians killed in the attack, members of two families including 8 children. Security officials confirmed the strikes and their location but did not confirm the casualties.
The 209 Shaheen Corps who were involved in the strikes claimed that there were 47 Taliban killed in the strikes along with ground operations. A spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Defense rejected the claim that there were civilian casualties but said that a probe team had been dispatched to investigate the attacks. Fawad Aman, the spokesperson also said that more than 40 Taliban had been killed at a gathering of the fighters in the area. The Faryab provincial governor also denied that there were any civilian casualties. Discrepancies in reporting of casualties are common after attacks in Afghanistan.
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