Army officials in Kunduz said on Thursday that mines planted by the Taliban and the group’s use of civilian houses as shields was slowing down their operations to clear the province of insurgents.
The current battle, which has been ongoing for eight days, is taking place just two kilometers from Kunduz city itself.
However, officials said they were hoping to reopen the Kunduz-Takhar Highway to traffic by the end of Thursday.
According to the army officials, more than 100 Taliban fighters have been killed in the conflict so far.
“The war started on Friday. We have evacuated our family. I am alone here and I am faced with a lack of food and water. I have not eaten food today. I am fasting,” said Malem, a resident of Kunduz.
TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini said that by Thursday the battle was also taken to Bagh-e-Miri area in Khanabad district along the Kunduz-Takhar road – which is about 11 kilometers from the gate of Kunduz city.
“As far as we know, more than 100 [fighters] of the enemy have been killed including their key fighters. The casualty of the security forces is very low,” said Sayed Qurban Musawi, Executive Officer of Division 20 of Pamir but did not give details.
“In the first stage, we will reopen the highway and then we will remove possible threats in Kunduz city,” said Baba Jan, Commander of First Regiment of Division 20 of Pamir.
Amini meanwhile reported on Thursday afternoon that government forces were at least five kilometers from Khanabad district’s main road and will then have to advance another five kilometers to connect with soldiers who have traveled towards Kunduz from Takhar province.
Amini said that the Taliban have entrenched themselves in houses on both sides of the highway.
On Tuesday, the battle was only two kilometers from the gate to Kunduz city; however, security forces have since managed to push the Taliban back.