Kunduz offensive “devastating” for local residents

In a surprise attack, Taliban militants captured major parts of Kunduz city, north of the capital Kabul a week ago.

Government forces backed by U.S. troops launched a counter-offensive on Thursday and so far, according to Kunduz police, hundreds of Taliban insurgents have been killed.

SOUNDBITE (DARI) FATEHULLAH, Displaced Kunduz resident (00:01:24-00:01:47)
“The situation in Kunduz city after it was captured by the Taliban was horrible, nowadays, people are struck by hunger. The price of one piece of bread has risen from 10 Afghanis a week ago to 50 afghanis today. Nearly all people in Kunduz are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.”

Local health officials have repeatedly called for a ceasefire so that civilians can receive life-saving assistance.

But for many, the hope seems vague.

SOUNDBITE (DARI) FATEHULLAH, Displaced Kunduz resident
“I saw lots of dead bodies and injured people in the city, and there are shortages of blood and medicines at Kunduz Regional Hospital. The hospital is stuffed with injured people. There are no more beds. Many patients are lying in the hospital’s walkways.”

Despite an urgent need for medical assistance and doctors, U.S. forces carried out air strikes on a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres at the weekend.

The attack claimed 19 lives including 12 staff members of the hospital, and injured 37 others.

In the aftermath of the deadly bombing, the aid agency has stopped functioning and evacuated all its international staff.

SOUNDBITE (DARI) FAWZIA, Displaced Kunduz resident
“We’re scared from the sounds of bombing and gun-firing. I saw our neighbor’s child got injured when going to bring bread from a shop. I lost all my hopes for surviving from the conflicts. I couldn’t send my son to do shopping, because I fear he could be targeted by militants’ bullets.”

The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since April when the militant group launched its so-called annual spring offensive in different places of Afghanistan.

UN figures show that in the first half of this year, nearly 1,600 civilians were killed and over 3,300 others wounded in conflicts and attacks.

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