During a visit to the restive northern Kunduz province, Gen. Nicholson, said “You may have heard that the Taliban want to take Kunduz again – they will not,” stated Nicholson. “The Taliban want you to think that your government and the Coalition will abandon you — we will not. The Taliban think that by posing threats to you, the brave people of Afghanistan, that you will surrender to them – you will not.”
Gen. Nicholson joined the acting Afghan Minister of Defense Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai and Acting Afghan Minister of Interior Taj Mohammad Jahid during the official visit to Kunduz province.
Gen. Nicholson and Omarkhil discussed Resolute Support’s commitment to the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) as they prepare for the upcoming spring offensive, according to a statement by the alliance.
“Additionally, Nicholson met with representatives of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), family members of victims, and leaders of the Kunduz community. During this meeting he expressed his condolences to members of the MSF staff as well as those affected by the hospital strike that occurred on October 3rd, 2015,” the statement added.
Gen. Nicholson further added “As Commander, I wanted to come to Kunduz personally and stand before the families, and people of Kunduz, to deeply apologize for the events which destroyed the hospital and caused the deaths of the hospital staff, patients and family members. I grieve with you for your loss and suffering; and humbly and respectfully ask for your forgiveness.”
The Taliban militants briefly took control of the strategic Kunduz last year, forcing the US forces in Afghanistan to intervene and carry out airstrikes to support the Afghan forces as the Taliban militants were close to take control of the Kunduz city airport.
The air support by the US forces helped the Afghan national security forces to drive out the Taliban militants and regain control of the city from the Taliban militants.