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Anti-Taleban Forces Claim Entry to Mazar-e-Sharif, Report Unconfirmed - 2001-11-09


Afghanistan's opposition Northern Alliance says its forces have entered the strategic northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, but the report has not been independently confirmed.

C-N-N-Turk television quotes opposition military leader Commander Rashid Dostum as saying anti-Taleban troops overran the city in half an hour. The ethnic Uzbek general also is quoted as saying 28 opposition fighters were killed and more than 30 others wounded while taking the city. Ninety Taleban soldiers were reported killed during the battle.

U-S officials say if the reports are confirmed the gain would be a major victory, giving anti-Taleban forces control of crucial supply routes between the capital Kabul and the northern border. A U-S Central Command spokesman told V-O-A U-S military officials would not comment on ongoing military operations for security reasons.

The report on Mazar-e-Sharif comes hours after U-S fighter jets and B-52 bombers struck Taleban positions around the city. U-S warplanes also hit areas north of Kabul and in the capital's suburbs. More coalition ordnance fell in and around Kandahar, the Taleban stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

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