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28 Oct 1996 description
report Times

Michael Dynes reports from Jabal os-Siraj on the Tajik guerrilla chieftain who sees it as his God-given duty to rid his country's capital once again of an unwelcome occupying force

KNEELING in the shadow of the Hindu Kush, General Ahmed Shah Masood, the commander of the forces besieging Kabul, called on Allah to guide his hand on the eve of what could be the final battle with the Taleban zealots for control of the capital.

28 Oct 1996 description
report Times

General Masood directs tank fire on a Taleban position ten miles north of the Afghan capital. His aide said the main attack would start on Wednesday

FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN KALAKAN

THE long-awaited assault on Taleban positions north of Kabul began at 6 am yesterday with a combined ground and air bombardment.

18 Oct 1996 description
report Times

FROM CHRISTOPHER THOMAS IN KABUL

03 Oct 1996 description
report Times

Christopher Thomasreports from the Salang Tunnel

TALEBAN Islamic soldiers are massed at the mouth of the strategic Salang Tunnel in northern Afghanistan, waiting in high spirits for the order to march. These are the "holy warriors" who have conquered most of the country in barely two years: they are fired with a sense of invincibility.

A heavy machinegun points into the highway tunnel. Heavy guns stare down from the surrounding Hindu Kush mountains. Just beyond the other end, 1.6 miles away, the forces of General Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek warlord of the north, are waiting.

30 Sep 1996 description
report Times

BY LAWRENCE FREEDMAN

ANY regime which publicly hangs the body of a former president and imposes stern Islamic law is likely to ring international alarm bells, yet the seizure of Kabul by Taleban is also being greeted with some relief as it provides the best hope of ending almost two decades of war.

From December 1979, when Soviet troops entered Afghanistan to prop up a failing Marxist regime, to their departure a decade later, the conflict was understood in largely global terms as part of the Cold War. There was some surprise when the Soviet withdrawal did not result in peace.