Afghanis are currently worried as Taliban forces were reported to be less than four miles from Kunduz, a strategic city in the North of Afghanistan. If the Taliban is able to take over the city, it will be the first Afghan city to fall since the United States crushed the Islamist regime in late 2001.
For now, districts just outside of Kunduz are currently under Taliban control, while the government in Kabul sends reinforcements to rescue about 75 soldiers and police officers who are currently trapped inside their district base. Only a river separates the Taliban from Kunduz.
Why is Kunduz so important to the Taliban? Well, taking Kunduz would give the Taliban control over the roads that lead to Northeastern Afghanistan and it also leads to routes that are often used for trade and smuggling into Tajikistan and the rest of Central Asia, which is why it would be a critically important capture for the Taliban.
The concern for the city of 300,000 is that the majority of the American and international forces have departed, and the Afghani forces are stretched thin with fighting on several fronts within Afghanistan. As a result, the government has called in pro-government militias which could increase violence and abuse. Even so, the fear of the Taliban is even greater. Especially considering that the Taliban wants to take over Kunduz as a way to take over Afghanistan which is especially frightening as rumors swirl over militants from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban factions aligning with the Islamic State to spread the Islamic State’s reach along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.
For now, the world watches as pro-government militias try to rescue the 75 who are trapped in their district base and the Taliban gains ground on Kunduz.