Taliban pull back from Kunduz as fighting flares up in Ghazni


KABUL: The Taliban said they were pulling back in the northern city of Kunduz on Tuesday in order to protect civilians, but fighting continued elsewhere in the country with government troops battling to reopen the main highway south of the capital Kabul.

The insurgents have mounted a wave of attacks in Kabul and beyond since the withdrawal of most foreign troops last year, culminating in the seizure of Kunduz in a carefully orchestrated offensive at the end of last month. Though the Taliban only controlled the city for three days, fighting between the militants and Afghan security forces continued for two weeks, driving tens of thousands of residents to seek safety in neighbouring provinces. As government forces have slowly regained control in Kunduz, fighting has flared in Ghazni, a provincial city that lies south of Kabul on Highway One, the main link between the capital and the major southern city of Kandahar.