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October 16, 2001 | ROBYN DIXON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It started as a dispute over a lunch tab and ended with a mass defection of Taliban troops. One afternoon a month ago, several dozen Taliban fighters ate their fill of rice, bread and meat at the teahouse in Taleh Barfaq, Afghanistan, but decided not to pay the owner. The owner's close friends, another group of Taliban fighters, took offense. There was a spirited argument, and the men, all heavily armed, spilled into the teeming bazaar, wildly firing at one another. The first group of fighters saved a pocketful of afghanis, the Afghan currency, but the meal turned out to be much more expensive: Because of the quarrel, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan's major north-south supply route last week when more than 1,000 fighters and 30 commanders switched loyalties to the opposition Northern Alliance.
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NEWS
October 16, 2001 | ROBYN DIXON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It started as a dispute over a lunch tab and ended with a mass defection of Taliban troops. One afternoon a month ago, several dozen Taliban fighters ate their fill of rice, bread and meat at the teahouse in Taleh Barfaq, Afghanistan, but decided not to pay the owner. The owner's close friends, another group of Taliban fighters, took offense. There was a spirited argument, and the men, all heavily armed, spilled into the teeming bazaar, wildly firing at one another. The first group of fighters saved a pocketful of afghanis, the Afghan currency, but the meal turned out to be much more expensive: Because of the quarrel, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan's major north-south supply route last week when more than 1,000 fighters and 30 commanders switched loyalties to the opposition Northern Alliance.
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