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AP Exclusive: Taliban leader says capture of Afghan city was 'symbolic victory' for insurgents

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, a Taliban fighter sits on his motorcycle adorned with a Taliban flag in a street in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The U.S. military carried out an airstrike on Tuesday on the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which was captured by the Taliban the previous day in a major setback to the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 file photo, a Taliban fighter sits on his motorcycle adorned with a Taliban flag in a street in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The U.S. military carried out an airstrike on Tuesday on the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which was captured by the Taliban the previous day in a major setback to the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Afghanistan's security forces take their position during a clash by Taliban fighters in the highway between Balkh province to Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2015. Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai says operations to clear the Taliban from Kunduz continue. The insurgents still have a presence in various parts of the city, he said at a press conference.  (AP Photo)

    Afghanistan's security forces take their position during a clash by Taliban fighters in the highway between Balkh province to Kunduz city, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2015. Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai says operations to clear the Taliban from Kunduz continue. The insurgents still have a presence in various parts of the city, he said at a press conference. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 file photo, Taliban prisoners walk on a street after their comrades released them from the main jail in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban captured the northern Afghan city of Kunduz in a massive assault Monday involving hundreds of fighters, and now control a major urban area for the first time since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. (AP Photo/Hekmat Aimaq, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 file photo, Taliban prisoners walk on a street after their comrades released them from the main jail in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Taliban captured the northern Afghan city of Kunduz in a massive assault Monday involving hundreds of fighters, and now control a major urban area for the first time since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. (AP Photo/Hekmat Aimaq, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.