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Afghanistan: Taliban Push Back Opposition

Kabul, 6 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Taliban front line commander confirmed fierce overnight fighting in Afghanistan during which the Islamic militia is reported to have pushed opposition forces further back from the capital, Kabul.

Commander Mullah Abdul Hamid said today that opposition forces led by ousted defense chief Ahmed Shah Masood launched an attack on Taliban positions late yesterday that continued well into the morning. He said Masood's forces attacked Taliban positions from two different sides but that after three hours of intense fighting they were repelled. Hamid said there were heavy casualties, but had no firm figures. He added that the Taliban drove Masood's forces back some two kilometers from the Afghan capital.

Masood and his ethnic Uzbek allies in the north have threatened an all-out assault on Kabul, unless the Taliban leave the city. Taliban leaders have vowed to hold Kabul at all costs.