Acting Minister of Interior, Massoud Andarabi, says they were aware of the Taliban attack on the city of Kunduz in northeastern Afghanistan and that the government forces were well prepared to repel it.
It is the third complex attack by the Taliban on the city since 2015.
The attack began at midnight and is ongoing but officials said the Taliban have been pushed back and the city is under the control of the Afghan forces.
“Taliban’s goal involved [attacking] big cities, including Kunduz. We had information about it and we were fully ready for it,” Andarabi said in an interview with TOLOnews.
The reinforcements arrived in Kunduz on Saturday afternoon.
Footages on social media show the Taliban fighters capturing some police installations on the outskirts of Kunduz city.
Acting Minister of Defense Assadullah Khalid said the Taliban attack was repelled and that the city is under the control of the Afghan forces.
Mr. Khalid and Mr. Andarabi arrived in Kunduz on Saturday afternoon to lead the clearance operation against the Taliban, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said in a tweet.
Critics said it is a “shame” that the Taliban find access to the city while thousands of troops are stationed there, including the 217 Pamir Corps.
“Kunduz was ‘sold out’ last time and this time as well. How is it possible that they [Taliban] enter the city of Kunduz while there is an army corps?” asked retired Army General Atiqullah Amarkhel.
Some members of Kunduz Provincial Council said “inattention” by relevant institutions has made Kunduz security prone to complex attacks by the Taliban.
“Local officials were aware of this attack and they should have taken preventive measures,” said Mohammad Yusuf Ayubi, member of Kunduz Provincial Council.
Over 40,000 families were displaced in the two previous attacks on Kunduz, in which, the city fell to the Taliban for a few days.
“Ali Abad district is located near the main road but only the center of the district is under government’s control. Chahar Dara district is also under Taliban’s influence same as Khan Abad and Archi districts,” former Nangarhar governor Salim Kunduzi said.