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Taliban chief asks Kabul to accept ‘defeat’ in Kunduz

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor has asked the Afghan government to accept its ‘defeat’ in the northern city of Kunduz, advising Kabul against the attribution of Taliban ‘victory’ to foreign intelligence.

Taliban militants stormed the Afghan city Kunduz on Monday, effectively overrunning it in their biggest triumph since being ousted from national power in 2001.

Mansoor’s comments come in the wake of US-led Nato bombing of the Taliban fighters in Kunduz; however, the air strikes seemed to have little impact on the positions of the Taliban.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the American strikes were “useless”, whereas Taliban chief praised the Taliban ‘victory’ and asked the fighters to offer special “thanksgiving prayers.”

“The leadership of the Islamic Emirate congratulates all Mujahideen and the Mujahid nation over the major victory, and advises them to offer special thanks giving prayers,” Mansoor said.

He urged Taliban fighters inside the city to “take care of the people’s life and their property” at the end of the operations and achieving all objectives. “The people should not have any concern about their safety,” he said in a Pashto-language statement.

“Taliban will not enter the houses of the people. All government offices, hospitals and educational institutions, should continue their normal work.”

Mansoor said those soldiers who do not want to fight, should have no concerns about their lives as the “Mujahideen have no intention to take revenge. They should contact the Mujahideen and they will enjoy amnesty.”

“As the government has now faced a humiliating defeat, it should not call it interference of others but accept its defeat. The government should accept the victory of the Mujahideen,” the statement added.

The Taliban’s capturing of Kunduz coincides with the completion of President Ashraf Ghani’s one year in power. Ghani was sworn in as the president on September 29, 2014, after months of wrangling with his rival Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

With taking control of Kunduz, the Taliban have now taken war to northern Afghanistan from the Pashtun-dominated southern parts of the war-torn country.

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