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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

FROM SAM KILEY IN GISENYI ON THE RWANDA-ZAIRE BORDER

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

18 Oct 1996 description
report Times

FROM MICHAEL THEODOULOU IN NICOSIA

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.

12 Sep 1996 description
report Times

FROM MICHAEL THEODOULOU IN NICOSIA

11 Sep 1996 description
report Times

BY MICHAEL THEODOULOU IN NICOSIA AND OUR FOREIGN STAFF

THOUSANDS of Kurds fled towards Iran yesterday as Iraq gloated that the victory of its Kurdish militia allies in the city of Sulaimaniya had restored Baghdad's power over the north and humiliated the United States.

Tehran implored the world to help it to cope with the exodus, saying that nearly 200,000 refugees were threatening to swamp its border. The United Nations said it expected 75,000 refugees to converge on the inhospitable mountainous frontier.

04 Sep 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

AS MANY as 90,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands injured during the 21-month separatist war in Chechenia, General Aleksandr Lebed, the Russian security chief, said yesterday.

03 Sep 1996 description
report Times

FROM ANTHONY LOYD IN GROZNY

ASLAN MASKHADOV, commander of the Chechen guerrilla army and the man most responsible for the Russians' battlefield humiliations, smiles just once as he marks the latest Russian positions on the map of Grozny.

After three days without sleep, culminating in an apparent deal on Saturday with the Kremlin's special envoy, General Aleksandr Lebed, he looks exhausted.

27 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

RUSSIA'S national security chief, General Aleksandr Lebed, began a long and complex mission yesterday to persuade his masters in Moscow to approve his peace plan for Chechenia.

After days in the republic pushing through a truce, he faced the far more challenging task of finding a permanent political solution to the 20-month conflict.

Yesterday he briefed Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Russian Prime Minister, on his draft proposal, which is said to contain plans to demilitarise Chechenia and begin rebuilding the country.

26 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

RUSSIA'S national security adviser, General Aleksandr Lebed, cut short his peace mission to Grozny yesterday to face what is likely to be the toughest part of his effort to end the 20-month conflict in Chechenia.

With a ceasefire holding in the breakaway republic and the first efforts under way to demilitarise the area, the Russian troubleshooter must navigate through the hostile corridors of the Kremlin to win approval for a permanent political settlement.

21 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

RUSSIA'S leadership was plunged into chaos last night, after General Aleksandr Lebed, the country's security chief, charged Kremlin hardliners with forging President Yeltsin's signature on a decree ordering the recapture of Grozny.

In an astonishing declaration, the tough former paratrooper, who also serves as the Kremlin's troubleshooter on Chechenia, in effect questioned whether the ailing Russian leader is still running the country.

21 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

20 Aug 1996 description
report Times

BY MICHAEL THEODOULOU

HEAVY fighting has broken out between the two main Kurdish factions in the Western-protected enclave in northern Iraq, causing many casualties and threatening to bury a ceasefire brokered by America a year ago.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) blamed each other for the clashes, in remote mountains near the northeastern town of Rawanduz, close to the Iranian border.

At the heart of the dispute is a struggle for power, money and territory.

12 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM SAM KILEY IN NAIROBI

ETHIOPIAN forces pounded Muslim fundamentalist militia in northern Somalia with helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery over the weekend and vowed to continue its attacks against the "international terrorist group" it blames for a series of bombings and assassination attempts.

The invasion by troops in support of a Somali faction opposed to the al-Ittihad al-Islami (Islamic Union) left hundreds dead after two days of fighting in which three fundamentalist strongholds close to the Kenyan border were captured.

09 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

RUSSIAN army units yesterday clawed their way back into battle-scarred Grozny, but came under sustained attack from Chechen rebels.

On the third day of the guerrilla offensive against the Chechen capital, three Russian armoured columns partly succeeded in regaining central districts, although the tactic was costly and indecisive.

08 Aug 1996 description
report Times

FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW

CHECHEN rebel fighters were poised to capture the centre of Grozny, the besieged Chechen capital, last night. Russian troops were cut off by guerrillas or driven out of the city in fierce street fighting.

In one of the most humiliating chapters of Russia's disastrous 20-month campaign in the breakaway Caucasus republic, Chechen separatists continued to throw the authorities on the defensive in the second day of a lightning assault.