A major new Taliban offensive is ongoing in the Qalai Zal District of Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province today, with a significant force pushing into the area and fighting against government security forces. The Taliban holds some nearby districts, and last year held Kunduz City itself for some time.
The size and success of the offensive are unclear, with local officials providing very conflicting accounts. Provincial MP Amruddin Wali reported some 500 Taliban involved, and that they control large parts of the district’s center.
District Governor Mahbubullah Saeedi, however, told an entirely different story, insisting only 100 Taliban were involved, and that the security forces had already pushed them back successfully. Saeedi did, however, admit that most of the population had fled, which hardly sounds like a reaction to 100 quickly repelled Taliban arriving.
Before the 2001 US invasion and occupation, Kunduz was virtually all under the control of the Northern Alliance, but in recent years the Taliban has successfully expanded into the area, and is now making a serious effort to contest control of the important province over the long-term.