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Afghanistan: Taliban Occupies Large Afghan Town

By Bruce Pannier and Yakub Turan

Prague, 19 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Latest reports from Afghanistan indicate that opposition forces have not entirely driven Taliban fighters from a contested town on the Uzbek border.

Our correspondents report that the Taliban are still in control of parts of the town of Khairaton. Opposition forces of formerly rival commanders General Abdum Rashid Dostum and General Abdul Malik began a united drive against Taliban forces in the town yesterday after the militia siezed it two days ago.

The battle for Khairaton comes as part of a Taliban advance on the prinicipal northern opposition stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif.

The Islamist Taliban militia, which controls about two thirds of Afghanistan's territory, began its advance on Mazar-i-Sharif early this month. The Taliban briefly held parts of Mazar-i-Sharif last week, but were forced back from the city by week's end.