Special forces from the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, reportedly including US troops, battled Taliban militants on the ground in Kunduz Wednesday in an attempt to retake the city after Afghan forces were overrun Monday. It marks the first time foreign forces have clashed with the Taliban during the conflict in Kunduz, Reuters reports. Coalition rep Col. Brian Tribus says the forces took part in a mission near Kunduz airport where Afghan forces have made a base. "Coalition special forces advisers, while advising and assisting elements of the Afghan Security Forces, encountered an insurgent threat in the vicinity of the Kunduz airport at approximately 1am," Tribus says. "When they encountered the threat, they defended themselves."
Tribus wouldn't provide the nationalities of the coalition fighters, but a senior Afghan security official says 100 members of US special forces were involved. He adds they wore night-vision goggles as they left the airport and returned after eliminating Taliban attackers. Tribus adds US forces also conducted their third airstrike near Kunduz since Tuesday, targeting a spot near the airport Wednesday morning. A rep for the Public Health Ministry says 30 people have been killed and 200 injured in the fighting and "around 90% of them are civilians." The coalition said Wednesday that a soldier was killed in northern Afghanistan, but from a "non-battle cause," reports the Washington Post. A US military official says he expects the estimated 500 Taliban fighters to be expelled from Kunduz within weeks.