Afghan forces clash with Taliban near Kunduz

Afghan security forces and armed citizens clashed with Taliban fighters on the outskirts of Kunduz on Saturday (July 10) in a bid to drive them out of the northern city.

Video footage obtained by Reuters showed armed citizens and Afghan forces at the battlefield on the outskirts of the city, with gunfire heard in the background.

An Afghan army commander in Kunduz claimed they had repelled the Taliban fighters.

"Afghan forces are ready to defend their homeland and during the past few days, the enemy carried out a massive offensive in the city of Kunduz, but they faced strong resistance from the Afghan forces and as a result the enemy suffered heavy casualties."

Taliban gains have been especially dramatic in northern provinces where they had long been kept at bay. Most Kunduz districts have now fallen to the Taliban.

The Islamist insurgents have been advancing for weeks in an offensive that has accelerated as the US pulled out of its main base, effectively ending its two-decade intervention in the country.

The US agreed last year under then-President Donald Trump to pull out its troops subject to Taliban security guarantees.

Talks between Afghan government and Taliban negotiators in Qatar have failed to make substantive progress, though both sides have been holding meetings in recent days.

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