Afghan Opposition Waits for Orders for Widespread Attacks
Afghan opposition forces told AFP Sunday they were waiting for orders to launch a massive infantry offensive against Taliban forces around the country following US-led strikes.
Opposition spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem said anti-Taliban Northern Alliance commander General Abdul Qassim Fahim had told his forces to standby for orders to attack Taliban-held cities.
"We are waiting for orders for General Fahim. The United Front is trying to cut off the Taliban from all sides," he said via satellite phone from the frontlines near Samangan in northern Afghanistan.
"We don't know when the attack will start but they've told us to keep all our phones and communication lines open.
"Our goal is to block the road from Kabul (east) to Mazar-i-Sharif (north) so the Taliban will not have access. When we take the city of Samangan (north) we will take Mazar."
He said the airport at Mazar-i-Sharif, the strategic Taliban-held capital of northern Balkh province near the border with Uzbekistan, was under attack and "dozens" of US helicopters had been seen overhead.
The opposition forces, known as the Northern Alliance or the United Front, have been involved in US planning in recent days as US forces were deployed in Uzbekistan, to the north of Samangan.
They have promised to spearhead any US ground attack, using their hardened troops and local intelligence.
And although they only control pockets of territory mainly in the northeast, their forces are poised just 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the capital Kabul.
Most analysts predict the Taliban will not be able to fight on several fronts at once, and could crumble quickly if any of the main cities in the country fall to the opposition -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)
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