Taliban Claim to Pull Out From Kunduz

Taliban Claim to Pull Out From KunduzTaliban Claim to Pull Out From Kunduz

The Afghan Taliban have claimed withdrawal from the center of the northern city of Kunduz after weeks of intense fighting against the Afghan troops backed by US airstrikes in the city.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that they have withdrawn from the city to protect civilians.

“We left Kunduz so the fight can stop and the civilians can get back to their normal life,” Mujahid said.

“Our enemies (foreign forces) have destroyed markets, commercial buildings and hospitals in the fight and we saw people dying and suffering due to those attacks.”

However, the Taliban assure that they are able to seize the city again if they want.

“We are leaving for the sake of those civilians. However, we can come back and seize the city whenever we want,” Mujahid said.

According to Kunduz police spokesperson, Sayed Sarwar Hussain, all fighters had been cleared from the city and life was returning back to normal.

“Last night, electricity and water supply have been restored in the city and most of the markets in the city have reopened,” Hussain told Al Jazeera.

“Civilians who’ve fled the city are heading back to Kunduz now.”

The fall of Kunduz has dealt a major blow to the country’s NATO-trained security forces and highlighted the insurgency’s potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds.

As fighting spreads in the neighboring provinces such as Badakhshan and Takhar, concerns are mounting that the seizure of Kunduz was merely the opening gambit to tighten the insurgency’s grip across northern Afghanistan.