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US launches more airstrikes to back Afghan troop efforts to retake city captured by Taliban

  • In this Sept. 29, 2015, photo, a Taliban fighter stands guard on a vehicle in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. In a potential major shift in policy, U.S. military leaders want to keep at least a few thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016. The commanders point to a fragile security situation highlighted by the Taliban’s capture of the northern city of Kunduz this week.  (AP Photo)

    In this Sept. 29, 2015, photo, a Taliban fighter stands guard on a vehicle in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. In a potential major shift in policy, U.S. military leaders want to keep at least a few thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016. The commanders point to a fragile security situation highlighted by the Taliban’s capture of the northern city of Kunduz this week. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Taliban fighters search passengers and civilian vehicles in a check point in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Taliban gunmen fanned out in full force Tuesday across a key Afghan city they captured the day before, as the U.S. military carried out an airstrike on Kunduz and President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take the northern city back from the insurgents, urging his nation to trust Afghan troops to do the job. (AP Photo)

    Taliban fighters search passengers and civilian vehicles in a check point in Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. Taliban gunmen fanned out in full force Tuesday across a key Afghan city they captured the day before, as the U.S. military carried out an airstrike on Kunduz and President Ashraf Ghani vowed to take the northern city back from the insurgents, urging his nation to trust Afghan troops to do the job. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Map shows city of Kunduz in Afghanistan and locates government buildings and U.N. facilities; 3c x 5 inches; 146 mm x 127 mm;

    Map shows city of Kunduz in Afghanistan and locates government buildings and U.N. facilities; 3c x 5 inches; 146 mm x 127 mm;  (The Associated Press)

The U.S. military says it has conducted two more airstrikes overnight on Taliban positions around a northern Afghan city seized by the insurgents this week.

U.S. Army spokesman, Col. Brian Tribus, says coalition advisers are at the scene Wednesday, "in the Kunduz area advising Afghan security forces."

Afghan forces have been massing around Kunduz for what is likely to be a protracted battle to retake the strategic city of 300,000 inhabitants.

Residents say fierce fighting for control of Kunduz's airport, a few kilometers (miles) outside the city, raged through the night before the Taliban retreated under fire. The residents spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for their safety.

The Taliban captured Kunduz on Monday — the first major city they have seized since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion ousted their regime.