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DATE=4/21/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248396 TITLE=AFGHAN FIGHTING (L-ONLY) BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: OPPOSITION FIGHTERS REPORTEDLY HAVE CAPTURED (WEDNESDAY) A KEY TOWN HELD BY THE TALEBAN IN CENTRAL AFGHANISTAN. AS CORRESPONDENT SCOTT ANGER REPORTS, THE VICTORY COMES AS FIGHTING INTENSIFIES IN THE WAR-TORN COUNTRY. TEXT: ANTI-TALEBAN FORCES SAY THEY HAVE CAPTURED THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL CITY OF BAMIYAN, AFTER AN OFFENSIVE WEDNESDAY IN CENTRAL AFGHANISTAN. REPORTS SAY HEAVY AIR-RAIDS BY THE TALEBAN ROCKED RESIDENTIAL AREAS OF THE TOWN, LOCATED MORE THAN A HUNDRED KILOMETERS NORTHWEST OF THE AFGHAN CAPITAL, KABUL. UNTIL LAST YEAR, THE TOWN WAS THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SHI'ITE HEZB-E-WAHDAT, ONE OF THE KEY MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION ALLIANCE. BUT BAMIYAN FELL TO THE TALEBAN LAST SEPTEMBER AND THE HEZB-E-WAHDAT WAS DRIVEN OUT OF THE CITY. THE VICTORY BROUGHT ABOUT NINETY-PERCENT OF AFGHANISTAN UNDER THE TALEBAN'S CONTROL. OPPOSITION FORCES, LED BY AHMAD SHAH MASOOD, HAVE MANAGED TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF ABOUT TEN-PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY SINCE THE TALEBAN CAPTURED KABUL IN 1996. FIGHTING HAS INCREASED IN AFGHANISTAN SINCE THE BREAKDOWN OF PEACE TALKS THIS MONTH BETWEEN THE TALEBAN AND OPPOSITION. BOTH SIDES BEGAN NEGOTIATIONS IN FEBRUARY IN AN ATTEMPT TO BRING PEACE TO AFGHANISTAN, WHICH HAS ENDURED MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF WAR. THE TWO SIDES AGREED TO MEET AGAIN, BUT THE TALEBAN HAVE SINCE RULED OUT ANY MORE NEGOTIATIONS. THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL HAS EXPRESSED CONCERN AT THE RENEWED FIGHTING AND HAS URGED THE TALEBAN TO RETURN TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/LTD 21-Apr-99 8:46 AM EDT (1246 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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