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Afghanistan: Opposition, Taliban Make Counterclaims

Mazar-i-Sharif; 29 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Opposition and Taliban forces are making counterclaims today as they continue a face-off north of Kabul.

The Taliban claimed today to have stopped the opposition advance led by former government defense minister Ahmad Shah Masood. Taliban fighters also told reporters thay have captured high-ground overlooking and endangering the opposition forces' supply lines.

But an opposition forces spokesman told reporters that Masood's forces have solidified their lines near the capital and beaten back several Taliban counterattacks. Chief Protocol Officer Zia told reporters in the opposition stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif that an opposition attack on Kabul will begin within days.

Zia also claimed opposition forces are within 13 kilometers of the capital. His claim could not be confirmed.

Two international aid officials cancelled a trip into Kabul today given the uncertainty of the military situation. Dozens of other international aid officials have left Kabul in recent days.