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Thousands Flee As Taliban Take Key Afghan District

The Norwegian Refugee Council says hundreds of Afghan families are desperately fleeing armed conflict in Kunduz Province. (file photo)

Thousands of Afghans have fled fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants in the northeastern province of Kunduz since the group captured a key district following the launch of their spring offensive last month, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on May 7.

The Taliban captured the Qala-i-Zal district, west of Kunduz city, on May 6.

The NRC said Afghans are also fleeing from the Khanabad district.

"Hundreds of Afghan families are desperately fleeing armed conflict in Kunduz Province," said Kate O'Rourke, the Afghanistan Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

"Many are accommodated with extended families elsewhere, but some have had to sleep in the open," O’Rourke added.

"All armed actors must respect International Humanitarian Law, avoiding civilian casualties and allowing fleeing civilians safe passage," she said.

Over the past 18 months, Taliban fighters have twice succeeded in seizing the town center of Kunduz for brief periods.

With reporting by AFP
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