KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s largest strategic victory of its long insurgency seemed to unfold in a matter of hours: At dawn a few hundred insurgent fighters entered the northern provincial capital of Kunduz from three sides, and by afternoon they ruled it.
But even though it was a shocking victory, it hardly happened overnight. Signs of a determined and innovative Taliban campaign in the north, and Kunduz in particular, could be seen some two years ago.
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