Scattered Fighting Rages across Afghanistan
Fighting raged across northern Afghanistan Tuesday as opposition forces, emboldened by the massive buildup of US might aimed at the ruling Taliban, captured several villages in fierce overnight battles.
Opposition spokesmen said clashes flared in three provinces across the Taliban-held north of the country, near the borders with Uzbekistan, where US forces are already believed to be based, and Tajikistan, which is guarded by thousands of Russian soldiers.
"The fighting continued the whole night and this morning," opposition spokesman Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem told AFP from somewhere near the frontlines.
"Our forces have been advancing in the east of Sang Charak district," he said, referring to an area 50 kilometers north of Sar-i-Pul, a small provincial center south of Balkh province bordering Uzbekistan.
"We have captured several villages to the east of Sang Charak and we are advancing towards the center of the district, which is now only six kilometers away from the frontline."
Scattered fighting was continuing in Samangan, Sar-i-pul and Balkh provinces in the north, opposition sources said.
Battles were underway to the north of Sar-i-Pul in Aq-kupruk district, about 70 kilometers south of the Balkh provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif, the main town in northern Afghanistan.
Nadeem claimed that a pro-Taliban commander, Abdul Samad, had defected to the opposition along with an unknown number of armed men on Monday near the strategic Dara-e-Souf valley in Samangan province.
Taliban officials were not available for comment and the opposition's claims could not be confirmed -- KABUL (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)