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Afghan Rebels Claim Taking City

October 17, 1998

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A rocket slammed into an eastern Kabul neighborhood Saturday afternoon, killing three people and wounding four others. Two children were missing, and neighbors feared they were buried beneath the rubble.

The attack came as opposition fighters claimed to have captured Taloqan, the capital of the northern Takhar province, about 160 miles north of Kabul.

There was no independent confirmation of the claim. If true, it would be the opposition’s first major victory against the Taliban religious army in more than one year.

``Around 500 Taliban fighters have been taken prisoner and more than 100 of their vehicles captured,″ an opposition spokesman said on condition of anonymity. There was no immediate report of casualties.

He said opposition fighters were locked in fierce battles with the Taliban in two other districts, including Dasht-i-Archi of Takhar province.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban, which controls more than 90 percent of Afghanistan, including Kabul. In areas it controls, the Taliban has imposed a strict version of Islamic law, barring women from work outside the home, banning most art and music and forcing men to grow beards.

No one took immediate responsibility for the Kabul attack, but witnesses said the rocket came from where opposition troops were hunkered down north of the capital.

Residents dug through the rubble with their hands, searching for survivors.

Earlier in the day, a rocket landed at the military and civilian airport. There was no damage or injuries.

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