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Afghanistan: Fighting Reported Today North of Kabul

Kabul, 29 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Fighters loyal to General Abdul Rashid Dostum tried to push back forces of the Taliban militia today in fighting north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Taliban spokesman Amir Khan Mattaqi said its forces held their ground despite coming under a barrage of fire. The Taliban, which captured Kabul last month, today declared a holy war against the northern warlord Dostum and his forces.

Earlier today, positions north of Kabul of former government military chief Ahmad Shah Masood, who is allied to Dostum, came under Taliban air attack. There was no word on casualties.

Masood and Dostum have been fighting together for over a week in an effort to oust the Taliban from a strategic pass about 20 kilometers north of Kabul. The fighting has caused scores of civilians to flee from nearby villages. In Kalakan, about 25 kilometers north of Kabul, five people were killed today when a rocket hit their home.

Meanwhile, the European Union today urged all sides to cease fighting and enter into U.N.-sponsored peace talks.