U.S. military planes for the first time hit Taliban positions on the outskirts of Kunduz on Tuesday, as government forces tried to retake the center of the northern city from the Taliban. Mana Rabiee has more.
Wit the help of U.S. air power, Afghan government forces are fighting to retake the center of Kunduz, U.S. jets hit Taliban positions overnight on the outskirts of the city. There's a lot at stake. Kunduz is the first provincial capital to fall into the hands of Taliban insurgents since their movement was toppled 14 years ago. It's a stunning loss for the government of President Ashraf Ghani, which is marking its first year in office. Residents say the Afghan Taliban are patrolling the city streets...after launching a suprise attack at dawn on Monday. Their new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, has reportedly instructed members to win over the 'hearts and minds' of residents here with "good behavior" instead of "bullets". Still, some are clearly anxious about the possibility of living again under Taliban rule. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) RESIDENT OF KABUL HAFIZULLAH KHAN, SAYING: "If Kunduz goes, there's more possibility that very soon ten other provinces will fall into the hands of the Taliban and our people and the country will fall into a crisis and there will be misery." The Defense Ministry says government forces have retaken the city prison and provincial police headquarters. President Ghani says an army battalion has been deployed to help embattled troops regain the city. But the insurgents, who ruled the country for five years before their ouster, are calling the fall of Kunduz just "the beginning" and vow to march further to the capital, Kabul.