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Opposition Repulses Taliban Attack

March 10, 2000

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Afghanistan’s northern-based opposition said it repulsed a major offensive Friday by the ruling Taliban Islamic militia, killing at least 60 Taliban soldiers.

Taliban attacked opposition positions in the Salang Pass, 50 miles north of Kabul, the capital, opposition spokesman Mohammed Hasim said.

After three hours of fierce fighting, the Taliban retreated leaving behind at least 60 dead soldiers, he said. Hasim gave no figures of the opposition casualties.

No comment from the Taliban was immediately available. The Taliban rule almost 90 percent of Afghanistan, including Kabul.

There has been a surge in fighting between the warring factions in the last few weeks with the arrival of warm weather.

The Taliban are Sunni Muslims and mostly Pashtun _ Afghanistan’s majority ethnic group. The opposition comprises ethnic and religious minorities who rule the remaining 10 percent of Afghanistan.

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