Afghan Taliban ‘recruiting boys’ from Kunduz families
Taliban fighters go from door to door to take young boys as report says they have enough weapons “to last months”.
Taliban fighters are going from door to door in the key northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz to take young boys as recruits, as reports emerge that they have captured enough weaponry from Afghanistan’s security forces to hold out in the city for months.
Al Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from Baghlan just south of Kunduz, said the Taliban were “taking young boys from every family as a form of forced recruitment”.
“They are also using mosque loudspeakers to ask the people to set up Sharia law and are asking people to go about their business,” Azimy said.
“They are saying that they are going to be here for a long time and ‘Come and help us bury our dead bodies’,” Azimy said.
Our reporter said there was no electricity in the city on Wednesday, food was in short supply and that the price of bread had doubled from 10 Afghanis to 20 Afghanis overnight.
There were also reports that all 10 bank branches in the city had been looted.
Kunduz residents were also saying that the Taliban had captured enough armoured vehicles from the Afghanistan security forces “to fight for months”.
The reports came as the airport remained the only government building in Kunduz still held by Afghanistan’s government.
More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers and hundreds of government employees are believed to be holed up in the airport, which remains surrounded by Taliban fighters. Around 5,000 soldiers are believed to be involved in the operation.
NATO special forces have also reached Kunduz to bolster the Afghan troops after the Taliban seized the strategic city on Monday, the military coalition said on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the US conducted several air strikes around the airport to protect the coalition troops as the Afghan forces continued to battle the Taliban to retake it.
“Coalition special forces are on the ground in Kunduz advising their Afghan counterparts,” a NATO spokesman said.
Our correspondent said NATO was not bombing the city itself because of its civilian population.
The Taliban attack on Kunduz began at dawn on Monday with the fighters capturing key buildings and freeing hundreds of prisoners, who included members of the Taliban.
The incursion came after two failed attempts this year to capture Kunduz city, which has been encircled by the fighters for about a year.