Afghan forces clashed north of Kabul on Tuesday, and a northern warlord declared he would not sign any cease-fire until the religious Taliban army moved out of the capital.
Rashid Dostum, who commands the country’s biggest military force after the Taliban, gave the ultimatum after meeting with ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani in Dostum’s stronghold of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Taliban troops burned homes and beat civilians Tuesday in the tiny hamlet of Karizhmir as they searched for soldiers loyal to ousted military chief Ahmed Shah Massood, who is allied with Dostum, along a hotly contested front 15 miles north of Kabul.
Massood was on the front directing his troops Tuesday. Dressed in his khaki green jacket and wearing his customary wool cap, he barked orders into a walkie-talkie.
Dostum’s soldiers were deployed behind Massood’s lines. So far, they have apparently stayed out of the fighting.