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Afghanistan: RFE/RL Interviews Commander Of Anti-Taliban Forces

Prague, 6 August 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The following are excerpts of an interview with General Rosi Geldy, a field commander of the 70th Division of the National Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, part of the anti-Taliban alliance. Geldy was interviewed by RFE/RL's Turkmen service yesterday in Hairaton, Afghanistan, near the border with Uzbekistan:

RFE/RL: Who is in control of Mazar-i-Sharif?

Geldy: The anti-Taliban alliance is in control.

Q: Rosi Geldy, what is the situation in Sheberghan (about 125 kilometers from Mazar-i-Sharif)? Reports say the Taliban have killed many people. Reports say many (ethnic) Turkmen and Uzbeks have been killed. Who is in control of Sheberghan?

A: There are Taliban in Sheberghan but alliance troops are also there on the outskirts of the city.

Q: We have heard that the Taliban have already passed through Andkhoy (about 160 kilometers from Mazar-i-Sharif). Were there large battles there?

A: There were not such (large) battles there. In that area the division is present and the population is helping them. The people there support the Anti-Taliban alliance. There are no problems there.

Q: Rosi Geldy, how did the Taliban capture Meimene (about 320 kilometers from Mazar-i-Sharif)?

A: I would answer your question this way: in that area there were defeats but also successes. We are not worried by the defeats, neither are we celebrating the victories. We are not worried that they have beaten us yet. Elements of our alliance with all their strength and with the help of Allah will push the Taliban back to where they came from in the very near future.

Q: Recently, (Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar declared a "Jihad" against the Taliban. He advised the people to wage a holy war. Where is Hekmatyar right now? In Mazar-i-Sharif? In Meimene?

A: He is with our alliance.

Q: They say Pakistan is helping the Taliban, Iran is helping the Hazara (Shiites), does Turkmenistan help you, if only morally?

A: As you know, Turkmenistan always says it is neutral. No one is helping us and we don't expect any support from there (Turkmenistan). Together with the Afghan people we will fight and work. No one else is helping us.

Q: Where is General Dostum right now?

A: Dostum is with us, he is fighting with us and we continue to work under his orders.