Taliban assault in Afghan north

Taliban fighters launched a new assault on the capital of northern Kunduz province from three directions on Monday, police said, as government forces fought to keep the hard-line insurgents from entering the city.

The assault was the second time this year that the Taliban have threatened to take ground inside Kunduz city, as the Nato-trained Afghan police and army fight largely without the help of foreign forces.

Breaching a provincial capital would be a milestone in the nearly 14-year-old insurgency, though Afghan forces this year have driven the Taliban from most territory they've gained in the warm-weather fighting season.

Monday's coordinated attacks were launched at about 6am (0130 GMT) and heavy artillery and gunfire could be heard in the centre of Kunduz city.

"Right now heavy fighting is ongoing in Khanabad, Chardara and at Imam Saheb, the main entrances to the city," Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for Kunduz police said. "We have enough forces and will drive them out soon."

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