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Afghanistan: U.N. Evacuates Staff From City

Islamabad, 22 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The U.N. evacuated thirteen of its staff from the embattled northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif Friday.

U.N. officials said they were flown to the town of Shibarghan, 65 kilometers to the west. The U.N.'s special envoy to Afghanistan, Norbert Holl, appealed to all warring factions earlier last week to help foreign workers leave the city.

Reports from Afghanistan Friday indicated that battles between the Taliban militia and opposition forces continued in another northern town on the Uzbek border.

Our correspondents reported that opposition forces of formerly rival commanders General Abdum Rashid Dostum and General Abdul Malik continued their drive to push Taliban forces out of the town of Khairaton. Taliban soldiers first seized the town last week.

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posuvalyuk told a news conference Friday that Russia is concerned about the situation but does not believe the Taliban will be able to hold onto their recent northern gains.