Anti-Taliban forces plot strategy, push to retake Kabul
October 14, 1996
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT)
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SALANG PASS, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Buoyed by military gains
over the weekend, forces opposed to Afghanistan's Taliban
Islamic militia met on Monday to discuss joint tactics as
they fight their way back towards the capital Kabul.
Former president Burhanuddin Rabbani and his military
commander, Ahmad Shah Masood, held talks with northern Afghan
warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum at Salang Pass, a strategic
mountainous area where the once-unstoppable Taliban have been
"Our forces have not yet entered the capital -- they are four
kilometers (2.5 miles) to the north," said Mohammed Daoud,
secretary to Masood. The ousted government's claim of
nearing Kabul could not immediately be confirmed.
Earlier, the Taliban government conceded it had lost the
northern front-line town of Jabul Saraj. Taliban sources
also said one of their senior commanders, Mullah Abdul Ahad,
had been killed.
Daoud confirmed that the Taliban army was fighting ousted
government forces around Bagram airbase, an hour's drive
north of Kabul. "Right now we don't have Bagram, but we're
going to take it soon," he told Reuters. "Masood holds some
parts and the Taliban still have others."
The Taliban captured Kabul on September 27 and pushed north
to bottle up Masood's forces in his Panjshir valley
stronghold. But Masood's battle-hardened guerrillas have
pushed the Taliban most of the way back to the capital in
the past two days.
Gen. Said Jasser Naderi, a senior member of Dostum's forces,
said so far Dostum's backing for Masood had been logistical.
"This meeting is to decide the future -- what we will do
together," Naderi said. "Working together is the only way to
Asked if they planned to retake Kabul, he said: "We want to
take it by negotiation if possible, but if that fails ..."
Dostum controls six provinces in northern Afghanistan.
The Taliban, a movement born in religious schools in refugee
camps in Pakistan, have seized control of about
three-quarters of Afghanistan.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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