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Taliban Recaptures Strategic City in Afghanistan, Spokesman Says

May 10, 1999|Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban religious army recaptured the strategic central city of Bamian on Sunday, routing opposition forces after heavy fighting, a Taliban spokesman said.

"Our fighters attacked Bamian from the north and have captured the city," said Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban's information minister. He did not have any additional details.

The Taliban has been fighting to recapture Bamian since opposition soldiers took control of the city last month, forcing Taliban troops to retreat to nearby mountain passes.

Bamian is largely dominated by Afghanistan's minority Shiite Muslims, who are aligned with the northern-based opposition. The opposition is led by former President Burhanuddin Rabbani and military chief Ahmed Shah Massoud.

There was no immediate comment from the opposition on the Taliban's capture of Bamian, but earlier the opposition did say it lost several nearby military posts west of Bamian.

There was no immediate report of casualties. The opposition said Taliban jets had been bombing the area and many civilians had already fled.

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