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AFGHANISTAN - Aug. 5 - Opposition Regains Ground In North.

Opposition forces loyal to commander Ahmad Shah Masood say they had beaten back Taleban fighters in the north of the country after losing ground for several weeks. Mohammed Habeel, an opposition spokesman says: "We managed to take between 5 to 7 km of territory from Taleban in the attack and are roughly 15 km away from Khinjan". Habeel says more than 60 Taleban were killed in what he describes as extremely intense fighting. The Taleban confirms only that there was fighting in Salang. Habeel says the aim of the offensive was to ease pressure on Masood to the northeast of Salang where the Taleban cut off a vital supply route during last week. (The fall of the supply line was the 1st major military change in the past year. The route sits on a road between the Panjsher Valley, Masood's key stronghold, and Takhar province on the border with Tajikistan, from where he brings military supplies and fuel.) Habeel says Takhar is currently under siege by the Taleban from 2 directions. (Both sides are believed to have massed several thousand fighters for the latest battles, the worst in nearly a year. The Taleban hold 90% of the country, including the capital, Kabul, which it seized from Masood nearly 4 years ago. It has rejected repeated UN demands for sharing the power with its opponents. (Masood is the military chief of the ousted government and the last main rival of the Taleban.)
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Aug 5, 2000
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