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DATE=9/23/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=AFGHAN FIGHTING (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-254248 BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: In Afghanistan, the Taleban and opposition Northern Alliance are making conflicting claims about military gains in the northwest of the country. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad. Text: An opposition spokesman says after several days of fierce fighting Northern Alliance forces captured scores of villages from the Taleban in two northwestern Afghan provinces (Farah and Ghor). Reports say the latest battlefield advances have put opposition forces within striking range of a key Taleban air base (Shindand) in western Farah province. A Taleban spokesman says the opposition's claims are baseless. The Pakistan-based "Afghan Islamic Press" quotes the spokesman as saying Taleban forces have not lost any territory in the area. There is no independent confirmation of the fighting. The Taleban controls 90-percent of Afghanistan. Since capturing Kabul in 1996, the Islamic movement has repeatedly failed to dislodge Commander Ahmad Shah Masood and his forces from the remaining ten-percent. Afghan analysts say the latest military clashes could be another attempt by the Taleban and Commander Masood to capture as many areas as possible before winter sets in. The warring factions in Afghanistan use winter to re-group and stock up on supplies. (Singed) NEB/AG/KL 23-Sep-1999 09:40 AM EDT (23-Sep-1999 1340 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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