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Troops Rebuff Talibin Forces

Less than three weeks after storming into the capital and proclaiming a strict Islamic government for Afghanistan, the forces of the Taliban religious movement have suffered a series of sharp military setbacks that have raised doubts about their ability to hang onto their gains.

At dusk Tuesday, the front line in the war between the Taliban and a new opposition military alliance was at Qara Bagh, 25 miles north of the capital, Kabul.

In the last week, a series of strikes by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the military leader whose forces were ousted from Kabul by the Taliban, have driven Taliban forces back by at least 25 miles from their farthest point of advance up the main road to the Hindu Kush mountains.

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