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Afghanistan: Taliban Warplanes Bombard Enemy Positions

Kabul, 25 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Warplanes from the Taliban militia which controls Kabul are reported to have attacked positions held by opposing forces north of the Afghan capital today.

The two sides also are reported to have been involved in an intense artillery duel last night about 16 kilometers north of the city. Hospital officials in Kabul said three people had been killed and 10 others admitted with shrapnel wounds. The two sides exchanged more rocket and artillery fire today

Yesterday, the Taliban launched a massive counterattack against an opposition coalition force led by troops of Ahmad Shah Masood, military chief of the ousted Afghan government, and claim to have advanced some five kilometers. Today, Taliban military commander Mohammed Usman told Reuters his forces were still advancing but he was unsure of their exact position on the front line. If true, it would mark the first major Taliban gain in weeks of fighting.

The Taliban swept into Kabul in September and now controls roughly two-thirds of Afghanistan. Efforts by the United Nations to broker a ceasefire have so far failed. The anti-Taliban alliance want the Taliban to evacuate Kabul before agreeing to a ceasefire. The Taliban refuse and have imposed a strict version of Islam on the areas they control.