(The guardians): At least three civilians and 36 Taliban fighters have been killed after the militant group launched a “massive” attack on Kunduz, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities, the government said. The assault on Saturday led to running gun battles throughout the city and came as the Taliban continued negotiations with the US on ending America’s longest war. The militants, who have demanded that all foreign forces leave the country, now control or hold sway over roughly half of the country and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat by a US-led invasion. Some 20,000 US and Nato forces remain in Afghanistan after formally ending their combat role in 2014. They continue to train and support Afghan forces fighting the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group. Kunduz saw heavy fighting throughout Saturday after Taliban fighters launched a “massive” attack from several directions, police said, forcing the Afghan authorities to rush in reinforcements to prevent the insurgents from gaining control of the city. Electricity and most telephone services were cut, and residents sheltered in their houses. At least three civilians were killed and 41 wounded were taken to hospitals, said Ehsanullah Fazli, head of the public health department in Kunduz city. “The city is completely empty, shops are locked, people aren’t moving, and light and heavy weapons can be heard in several parts of the city,” said local resident Khaluddin, who like many Afghans goes by a single name.