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Taliban, Northern Alliance Clash

October 9, 2001

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) _ Fighting between forces of the ruling Taliban and the northern alliance neared the Tajik border as the opposition sought to gain ground on the Islamic militia, Russian border guards said Tuesday.

Taliban fighters and the northern alliance clashed across from three Russian border points along the Pyandzh River that separates Tajikistan from Afghanistan. The two countries share a 750-mile border.

The primary front line between the Taliban and the northern alliance is to the north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Another area of the front is around the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, south of Afghanistan’s border with Uzbekistan.

On Monday, the northern alliance said it was preparing a major offensive that would target key cities, including Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Col. Abdul Qudussy, military attache at the Afghan Embassy in Dushanbe, said the opposition hoped to send its own planes to help attack the Taliban. Qudussy would not give details about the alliance’s air capacity, which is believed to be only a few aging aircraft.

The alliance now holds about 10 percent of northern Afghanistan.

The Russian border guards, who control the frontier for the Tajik armed forces, reported fighting throughout the night near Sherkhan, across from the Novobrazhnaya border post and near the town of Imam-Sakhib.

Rocket and artillery fire were heard, the press center of the Russian border guards said Tuesday. The guards believe the Taliban are reinforcing their hold in the area with the goal of trying to break through the Tajik border.

Update hourly