November 25, 1996 in Nation/World

Islamic Troops Win Battle For Village, Reversing Trend

Associated Press
 

The Taliban religious army captured a strategic village north of Kabul on Sunday in a battle involving heavy artillery and jet fighters.

The Taliban said its troops captured Guldarah, about 10 miles north of the war-ravaged capital, and pushed farther back from the capital the forces led by ousted government soldiers.

The conquest was the first time in weeks that the Taliban forces have pushed back the former government troops, giving a psychological victory to the Islamic forces that now control two-thirds of Afghanistan.

The organization of former Islamic clerics and students took over the capital, Kabul, on Sept. 27, and has imposed its brand of Islamic rule, banning women from the work force and forcing men to wear beards and attend mosque prayers five times a day.

Taliban soldiers said there was a heavy exchange of fire at the front line, which has been shifting back and forth.

Civilians fleeing the fighting said anti-Taliban troops loyal to northern warlord Rashid Dostum have also taken control of some high ground northwest of the capital.

The sound of artillery shook Kabul throughout Saturday night, while on the deserted streets Taliban tanks and armored vehicles rumbled toward the front line to reinforce their comrades.

At dawn, Taliban troops launched their attack, pushing their enemies out of Guldarah.

“The enemy is fighting to take back the village, we called our airplanes to help us out,” said Hamdullah, a Taliban commander of an artillery post.

Mohammed Omar, another Taliban officer, said only one soldier was seriously injured.

The official Radio Kabul also reported heavy fighting at the second front in western Afghanistan’s Badghis province, about 360 miles from Kabul.

But the major front line is north of Kabul where the anti-Taliban alliance, led by Dostum and the ousted government, has been pushing at the Taliban defenses.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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