The new leader of the Afghan Taliban says their capture of the northern city of Kunduz was a "symbolic victory" that showed the strength of the insurgency — even though the Taliban pulled out of the city after three days.

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor says that the three-day occupation of Kunduz was also "a historic event," which was "celebrated by the ordinary people of the city."

Mansoor spoke to The Associated Press by telephone from an unknown location on Friday. He was appointed the Taliban leader in August, after revelations that the group's founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, had died more than two years ago.

The Taliban captured Kunduz in a blitz Monday and held it for three days, until Afghan government troops pushed them out of the city on Thursday.