Insurgents controlled the main roundabout in the city of Kunduz and were fighting government forces Monday evening near the provincial police chief’s compound, police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini said.
The Taliban also claimed to have seized a 200-bed hospital — posting photos to social media that they claimed proved their control of the facility. Hussaini denied claims that the insurgents held any government buildings.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi had earlier said that Taliban forces were targeting a prison, the provincial police chief’s compound and some other targets, but that Afghan security forces backed by air power from the Afghan army were holding the insurgents at bay.
But Taliban forces were firing heavy weapons indiscriminately throughout the city, Sediqqi said. At least four civilians had died and 50 others were wounded, he said.
Sediqqi added that 25 Taliban fighters had been killed. Two Afghan policemen died and four others were wounded, he said.
The aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said Monday that its trauma center in Kunduz had received 66 patients, including eight who were declared dead on arrival and 17 who were in critical condition.
Monday’s assault is the latest in a series of clashes between Taliban and government fighters in the northeastern province.
Taliban forces, boosted by an influx of fighters from Pakistan and elsewhere, have battled government forces throughout the province since spring.
The assault comes a day after a suicide bombing killed at least nine in the eastern province of Paktika. The Taliban denied responsibility for that attack.