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Afghan forces face tough task in retaking Kunduz from the Taliban

The battle for Kunduz raged for a third day on Wednesday. But as Afghan government forces try to retake the city that has fallen to the Taliban, they

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Afghan forces face tough task in retaking Kunduz from the Taliban

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The battle for Kunduz raged for a third day on Wednesday.

Point of view

Ghani and Abdullah must step down

But as Afghan government forces try to retake the city that has fallen to the Taliban, they are struggling to keep the militants out of the airport.

Despite US airstrikes and reports of NATO special forces being deployed, this counter-attack does not look to be going according to plan.

The capture of Kunduz on Monday marked the insurgents’ biggest victory since the US invasion 14 years ago that toppled the Taliban government.

Civilians who have fled to the airport, hoping they would be safe there, have now found themselves in the midst of a war zone.

Pressure meanwhile is piling on President Ashraf Ghani, amid calls for his resignation – with Iqbal Safi, a member of parliament from Kapisa province, describing the Afghan government’s handling of the crisis as ‘shameful’.

“It is shameful how they (the government) have dealt with the situation in Kunduz,” he said.

“Ghani and Abdullah must step down,” Safi added during a televised session of parliament on Wednesday, in a reference to Ghani’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Other lawmakers echoed Safi’s demands in a chaotic session, with parliamentarians shouting and calling for a gathering of elders to begin the process of impeachment.

Ghani’s first year in office has been clouded by political infighting and escalating violence around the country, with the United Nations recording almost 5,000 civilian casualties in the first half of the year.