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Afghanistan: Refugees Flee To Kabul

Islamabad, 22 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The United Nations said today that thousands of refugees have streamed into Kabul to escape a week of fighting north of the city.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said more than 15,000 refuggees have entered the capital in the last seven days.

The UN said in a statement released in Islamabad that the refugee influx is the result of fighting which led up to the Taliban losing the key town of Charikar to opposition forces over the weekend.

News reports today say forces of Afghanistan's northern opposition alliance have advanced to within some 50 kilometers north of Kabul, with ongoing fighting reported at the town of Qarabagh.

The private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quotes a spokesman for Kabul's Taliban government as saying it is repulsing the attack by troops under the command of former Afghan defense minister Ahmad Shah Masood. The claim has not been independently confirmed.