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DATE=4/16/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248195 TITLE=AFGHAN FIGHTING (L-ONLY) BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: REPORTS SAY FRESH FIGHTING HAS ERUPTED IN AFGHANISTAN (FRIDAY) BETWEEN OPPOSITION FORCES AND THE TALEBAN MOVEMENT NORTH OF KABUL. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT SCOTT ANGER REPORTS. TEXT: THE INDEPENDENT AFGHAN ISLAMIC PRESS (A-I-P) SAYS THE TALEBAN MOVEMENT HAS LAUNCHED A MAJOR ATTACK AGAINST OPPOSITION FORCES LED BY AHMAD SHAH MASOOD NEAR KHANJAN, IN THE BAGHLAN PROVINCE NORTH OF THE CAPITAL. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE TALEBAN MOVEMENT TOLD A-I-P, THEIR FORCES HAVE MANAGED TO BREAK THROUGH THE FRONT LINES AND GAIN GROUND IN THE FIGHTING -- BUT THERE HAS BEEN NO INDEPENDENT CONFIRMATION. TALEBAN FIGHTER PLANES HAVE REPORTEDLY BEEN ATTACKING OPPOSITION POSITIONS IN THE AREA, AS HEAVY ARTILLERY EXCHANGES OCCUR BETWEEN BOTH SIDES. OBSERVERS HAVE BEEN EXPECTING RENEWED FIGHTING BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES, AS HEAVY SNOWS MELT ALLOWING TROOPS TO MOVE FREELY THROUGHOUT NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN. THE HARDLINE ISLAMIC TALEBAN HAVE GAINED CONTROL OF ABOUT NINETY-PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY SINCE CAPTURING THE CAPITAL, KABUL, IN SEPTEMBER 1996. OPPOSITION FORCES HAVE MANAGED TO HOLD ON TO THE REMAINING TEN-PERCENT. HOSTILITIES IN AFGHANISTAN HAVE STARTED AGAIN AFTER THE UNITED NATIONS FAILED TO BRING BOTH SIDES BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE LAST MONTH. THE TALEBAN AND OPPOSITION FORCES MET FACE-TO-FACE IN EARLY MARCH IN THE TURKMEN CAPITAL, ASHGABAD. DURING THEIR MEETINGS, BOTH SIDES PROMISED TO CONTINUE DIALOGUE AIMED AT BRINGING PEACE TO THE WAR-RAVAGED NATION. BUT DESPITE THE PLEDGE TO MEET AGAIN, TALKS HAVE NOT RESUMED. ON WEDNESDAY, U-N SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN WARNED THAT THE TALEBAN AND OPPOSITION HAVE USED THE COLD WINTER MONTHS TO REPLENISH THEIR SUPPLIES AND ARE PREPARING FOR HEAVY FIGHTING THIS SUMMER. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/GE 16-Apr-99 9:47 AM EDT (1347 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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