KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — Far from the heartland of the Taliban insurgency in the south, this once peaceful northern province was one place American and Afghan officials thought they did not have to worry about.
Afghan officials cut the police force here by a third two years ago and again earlier this year. Security was left to a few thousand German peacekeepers. Only one Afghan logistics battalion was stationed here.
But over the last two years the Taliban have steadily staged a resurgence in Kunduz, where they now threaten a vital NATO supply line and employ more sophisticated tactics. In November, residents listened to air raids by NATO forces for five consecutive nights, the first heavy fighting since the Taliban were overthrown eight years ago.