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13 Aug 1998 description

The United Nations says it has concluded an agreement with Afghanistan's Taliban Islamic movement that would allow expelled foreign aid agencies to return to the war-shattered capital, Kabul.

The announcement comes 10 days after a U-N official announced the suspension of talks on the issue with the Taliban.

Last month, they expelled 38 aid agencies for refusing to move from residential homes to a derelict college building.

A statement by a U-N coordinator for Afghanistan says talks through a joint consultative committee have satisfactorily concluded an agreement that will …

11 Aug 1998 description

The Taleban Islamic movement captured a military stronghold of the opposition alliance in northeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday after heavy fighting, a Pakistan-based Afghan news service said.

Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoting its sources in Afghanistan said the militia had seized Taloqan, capital of Takhar province, after driving out the fighters of Ahmed Shah Masood, the military commander of the ousted Afghan government.

No further details were immediately available on the fighting that began on Tuesday morning when the Taleban pushed through opposition defences in the neighbouring …

11 Aug 1998 description

Afghanistan's opposition alliance on Tuesday admitted the fall of Taloqan, capital of the northern province of Takhar, to the Islamic Taleban movement.

Zabit Saleh, a spokesman for key opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood, who had held Taloqan, told reporters by satellite telephone from neighbouring Tajikistan that the town fell after long fighting overnight, confirming an earlier report by a Pakistan-based news service.

"The fighting lasted 12 hours last night and the Taleban broke our defensive line this morning and in the face of their attacks we retreated from Taloqan …

10 Aug 1998 description

This report includes: A) East and Central Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya/Tanzania - bomb explosions of 7 August 1998 B) Cuba C) Guinea Bissau D) Sudan E) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and region: Kosovo crisis F) Afghanistan

10 Aug 1998 description

DUSHANBE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Tajikistan, alarmed by the advance of Afghanistan's radical Taleban forces towards its borders, has stepped up security along its frontier with the southern neighbour, a government official said on Monday.

The official, who declined to be named, told Reuters that Tajikistan was coordinating security measures with Russian border guards and peace-keeping forces in the former Soviet republic.

"We have put all armed units on Tajik territory, and particularly those along the Tajik-Afghan border, on full military alert to repel any possible …

10 Aug 1998 description

The Afghanistan civil-war has entered a new phase with a senior official in the anti-Taliban alliance conceding the religious militia has captured the northern city of Mazar-I Sharif.

07 Aug 1998 description

The Security Council expressed grave concern on Thursday at a sharp escalation of fighting in Afghanistan and demanded an urgent and unconditional ceasefire.

The statement, read at a brief public meeting, was prompted by a new drive by the purist Islamic Taliban movement against an alliance clinging to control of the north of the country.

"The Security Council reiterates that the Afghan crisis can be settled only be peaceful means, through direct negotiations between the Afghan factions under United Nations auspices," the statement said.

It called the renewed fighting a …

06 Aug 1998 description

Gravely concern at the new sharp escalation of the military confrontation in Afghanistan, the Security Council on Thursday demanded "an urgent and unconditional cease-fire to a final end to these hostilities."

05 Aug 1998 description

Members of the Security Council on Wednesday called on the parties in Afghanistan to resume a peaceful dialogue.

05 Aug 1998 description

Russia and Uzbekistan on Wednesday urged the Taleban Islamic movement, which controls much of Afghanistan, to halt its advance on opposition forces in the north of the country.

"Russia and Uzbekistan are deeply concerned at the escalation of bloodshed on Afghan territory," they said in a joint statement issued after talks on Tuesday between senior government officials in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

"The Taleban movement must stop its armed activity immediately," the statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Taleban forces have made deep …

04 Aug 1998 description

Forces of Afghanistan's Taleban Islamic movement made further gains against the country's northern-based opposition alliance on Tuesday, capturing another province with little resistance, a Taleban spokesman said.

Spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen told Reuters by telephone from the southern city of Kandahar that all of Sar-i-Pul province had been captured by the Taleban militia late on Tuesday morning.

"The enemy has left behind a large part of its arsenal and have set fire to some," he said.

04 Aug 1998 description

The Taliban militia is closing in on the last major opposition stronghold in Afghanistan.

Edmond Roy reports, international aid agencies are evacuating the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Troops of the hardline Islamic Taliban are advancing from the east and west of Mazar-i-Sharif, the only Afghan city not under the control of the militia. Aid workers who flew out of the city before the advance say troops loyal to the opposition have switched sides to help the Taliban in their spectacular breakthrough.

04 Aug 1998 description

The Red Cross has evacuated the last foreign aid workers from the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-I-Sharif as Taliban fighters advance to just 20 kilometres west of the city.

The Red Cross says it fears a repeat of the street fighting and looting that erupted when the Taliban religious militia briefly held the city last year.

Hundreds of residents are fleeing before the advancing army which is pausing to build bunkers and take other measures to shore up defences.

Reporters at the scene say it's unclear when the religious militia would attempt to capture Mazar-I-Sharif.

03 Aug 1998 description

Taliban forces claim they've captured key ground in northern Afghanistan and are now targetting the anti-Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif.

It's the only city outside the Taliban's strict Muslim rule in the region.

Taliban run radio, claims local commanders in the key district of Balkh, 20 kilometres west of Mazar-i-Sharif have joined the Taliban ranks, raising white flags, the symbol of alliegence to the purist movement.

03 Aug 1998 description

Foreign aid workers in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif were planning to leave on Monday after reports of fighting between the forces of the Taleban Islamic movement and the opposition only 15 km (10 miles) from the city, aid agency sources said.

They told Reuters some 11 aid workers from different relief organisations would leave Mazar-i-Sharif, the only main city still outside Taleban control and a stronghold of the opposition alliance.

They said the International Committee of the Red Cross was due to fly a plane to Mazar later on Monday to evacuate the aid …