Taliban Foes Say Another Key Site Taken, to Move to Kabul
Afghanistan's opposition forces Saturday said they had captured northern Samangan province bordering Tajikistan after the Taliban militia withdrew almost without a fight, reported AFP.
Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for opposition Northern Alliance commander Atta Mohammad, said the resistance troops were chasing the Taliban into Baghlan province to the southeast.
"As far as we know this morning we were able to capture Samangan and Aibak (the provincial capital). Our forces have been following the Taliban, who withdrew without major fighting," he told AFP.
Samangan's fall, if confirmed and sustained, would be the second damaging setback for the Taliban in 24 hours after the loss Friday night of the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in Balkh province.
In a major setback for the Taliban, Afghanistan's Northern Alliance captured the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif and the whole of Sar-i-Pol province to the south, setting the stage on Saturday for a push toward Kabul.
Taliban Defense Minister Obaidullah Akhund told Reuters that the militia had lost the strategic northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif to the Northern Alliance. The ancient city straddles major supply routes between Uzbekistan and the Afghan capital, Kabul, and its loss marks the first major blow to the Taliban in 35 days of U.S. attacks.
“Yes, Mazar has gone,'' Akhund said in a brief interview. ''The city and its airport are with the opposition.''
Meanwhile, the foreign minister of the North Alliance forces, Abdullah Abdullah, told Al Jazeera satellite channel on Saturday that he does not rule out an imminent offensive against Kabul when the political situation is ripe – Albawaba.com
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