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Afghan Opposition Claims Sweeping Victories - 2001-11-11


Opposition forces in northern Afghanistan are claiming sweeping battlefield victories against fighters of the ruling Taleban.

Northern Alliance leaders say their troops are breaking out of the newly-captured city of Mazar-e-Sharif driving ahead in western areas near the borders of Turkmenistan and Iran to areas in the east near the capital, Kabul.

The reported advances come as U-S jets bomb Taleban forces outside Kabul.

However, U-S officials are asking the Afghan opposition not to move on Kabul until an ethnically broad-based post-Taleban government is put in place. U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell says that for now, it would be better to simply make it untenable for the Taleban to remain in control in Kabul.

The Bush administration wants to allay fears of Afghanistan's Pashtun majority that the Northern Alliance -- made up mostly of Tajik and Uzbek minorities -- will seize Kabul.

Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah says opposition troops, backed by U-S special forces, have taken all or major parts of seven provinces from the Taleban since capturing the city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Friday. He also says hundreds of Taleban fighters were killed in the capture of the strategic town. The opposition claims could not be independently confirmed.

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