TITLE=AFGHAN FIGHTING - UPDATE(L-O)
INTRO: In Afghanistan, both sides are claiming
control of a major air-base as heavy fighting
continues between the Taleban and the Northern
Alliance. Sarah Horner reports from Islamabad.
TEXT: News agencies in Afghanistan quote Taleban
sources as saying Taleban fighters have taken the
strategic Bagram air-base, 50-kilometers north of
Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. Bagram is the only air-
strip in the area and is a key supply route for
opposition commander Ahmad Shah Massood.
Other reports from Afghanistan quote an opposition
spokesman (Dr. Abdullah) who says opposition forces
lost control of Bagram, but recaptured the air-base.
There is no independent confirmation of which side
The opposition spokesman says fierce fighting is
taking place at the junction of the so-called -- Old
and New Roads -- close to Bagram. Taleban sources
also say there is fighting there.
The two roads begin in Kabul's northern suburbs and
join 60-kilometers north of the capital to form the
main road leading to northern Afghanistan.
The Taleban and the opposition Northern Alliance have
fought over this ground several times since the
Taleban captured Kabul from the Alliance three years
In the past, when under pressure, Commander Massood
has moved back into his Panjshir Valley headquarters,
90-kilometers north of Kabul. The Panjshir has many
natural defenses. Soviet troops were never able to
occupy the valley during their 10-year occupation of
Afghanistan that ended in 1989. Taleban forces also
have not been able to penetrate the Panjshir.
The Taleban, which controls 90-percent of Afghanistan
launched an offensive last Wednesday in an effort to
bring all the country under its strict Islamic rule.
The United Nations Security Council has appealed to
both sides to stop fighting. U-N sponsored peace
talks between the Taleban and the Northern Alliance
ended two weeks ago with little result. (SIGNED)
01-Aug-1999 10:48 AM LOC (01-Aug-1999 1448 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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