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Posted: 11/9/2001 12:05:30 PM EDT
FoxNews is reporting that the Taliban stronghold of Mazar e Sharif is being evacuated by the Taliban and that forces of the Northern Alliance are entering the city! [size=4]Northern Alliance Enters Mazar-e-Sharif [/size=4] November 09, 2001 KABUL, Afghanistan — In a major victory in the U.S.-led campaign against the Taliban, opposition forces broke though Taliban defenses around Mazar-e-Sharif Friday and took the key northern city. A Taliban spokesman at the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, confirmed the opposition forces had entered Mazar-e-Sharif. The Pentagon did not immediately confirm the report. "There's a lot of dust in the air right now," Navy Rear Admiral John Stufflebeam said. "There are skirmishes across these various fronts and with that dust in the air it's very hard to tell what's exactly going on." A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there was still some fighting, but "[b]really, it's the Taliban fleeing the city in droves[/b]." He said the Taliban fighters were heading toward Kabul. Opposition spokesman Ashraf Nadeem said the Taliban appeared to have retreated from Mazar-e-Sharif. "We are moving through one neighborhood at a time," he said. Northern Alliance forces broke through Taliban defenses at the Pul-e-Imam Bukhri bridge on the southern edge of the city, Nadeem said. He said the opposition also overran the civilian airport and entered the city. He said Taliban troops appeared to be moving east toward Samangan province. The capture of Mazar-e-Sharif is expected to open up vital supply lines to the opposition from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Three factions of the Northern Alliance were moving on the city, where the population is largely made up of ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks, the same minorities as many in the opposition coalition. Ghulam Reza Zada, a spokesman for the Shiite Muslim faction involved in the opposition advance, also said opposition forces were entering the city but did not know whether all Taliban fighters had withdrawn. - continued -
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 12:08:45 PM EDT
At the Pentagon, Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said the reported breakthrough would be a welcome development if true. Rashid Dostum, the Uzbek warlord who controlled Mazar-e-Sharif until the Taliban captured the city three years ago, said in Turkey that the alliance overran the city in a half hour. He said he was speaking by satellite telephone from a hill overlooking Mazar-e-Sharif. Dostum claimed northern alliance forces killed 500 Taliban fighters and took hundreds of others prisoner during the past four days of fighting. Dostum claimed the alliance suffered 28 killed and more than 30 wounded. There was no immediate Taliban comment on the reports the city has been taken. In the past few days, opposition forces have credited intense American bombing against Taliban front lines with helping their advance on Mazar-e-Sharif. U.S. warplanes struck Taliban positions around the city Friday as well as on the other main front, north of Kabul. Several explosions resounded on the outskirts of Kabul, and huge plumes of smoke rose along the front line about 30 miles north of the city. Taliban soldiers fought back with anti-aircraft guns after several days of holding their fire. Col. Zia Hauddin, an opposition commander, said the Taliban had reinforced the front line with about 2,000 troops, mostly Arab and Pakistani volunteers. The Taliban have also brought in ammunition, tanks and other vehicles, he said. The U.S. bombing "should be accelerated," he said. Earlier Friday, fighting was heavy between opposition and Taliban forces around Mazar-e-Sharif, with the two sides giving conflicting accounts. The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press quoted an unidentified Taliban spokesman as saying that troops repulsed two opposition attacks on the city Friday. Alliance officials said they are counting on wholesale defections among Taliban forces in and around Mazar-e-Sharif and an uprising by the city's residents to avoid bloody house-to-house fighting. Taliban commanders, however, have said the morale of their troops is high. Elsewhere, U.S. jets and B-52 bombers repeatedly hit Taliban targets overnight and early Friday north of Kabul and around Kandahar, the southern city that is the Taliban headquarters. Witnesses reported about 30 bombs near Bagram, the site of an air base north of Kabul that is controlled by anti-Taliban forces. The opposition has not been able to use the airfield because of the proximity of Taliban troops. The Taliban fired anti-aircraft guns at U.S. planes and shelled opposition forces, witnesses said. Taliban fire had diminished recently, though it was not clear whether the militia was conserving ammunition or had lost guns to the bombing. - continued -
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 12:10:28 PM EDT
At least 22 civilians and four Taliban soldiers died in bombing across Afghanistan on Thursday, according to Bakhtar. It said seven were killed when a bomb struck near a shrine in a Kandahar district where villagers, often women hoping to give birth to a son, gather regularly to offer prayers. The Pentagon has said Taliban claims that the bombing has killed and wounded many civilians are exaggerated and that U.S. jets are only going after Taliban military targets. However, it has acknowledged that some civilian casualties are inevitable. In Britain on Thursday, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said that bombing Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan could alienate Muslims worldwide, and that civilian casualties were fueling perceptions of an unjust war. Ramadan begins in about a week, and Musharraf plans to raise the issue with President Bush in New York during the weekend. He returns to Pakistan on Monday. Musharraf faces opposition at home from pro-Taliban groups who resent his decision to side with the United States in its military campaign in Afghanistan. Those groups staged nationwide protests Friday, and three demonstrators were killed in a clash with police in the central city of D.G. Khan. Bush launched the air assault Oct. 7 after the Taliban refused to surrender Usama bin Laden, alleged architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed 4,500 people in the United States. See article at:[url] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,38385,00.html[/url] Eric The(Push'EmBack,Push'EmBack,WayBack!)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 12:14:00 PM EDT
Yep1 there is a new Sharif in town[:D]
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 12:16:15 PM EDT
Yeah but why did the Taliban give up this city? It's gone back & forth, really bloody each time. For 2 weeks we've heard how the NA aren't up to snuff, now they've kicked out the TB without a really nasty fight. Nothing easy is worth having. I don't know abt this one. Is it a ploy to get us to establish a base at the airfield? Thier whole point was to engage us in a ground war. Are we playing into thier hands? Just someting not right abt this, but I am paranoid....
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 1:02:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ISMO: Just someting not right abt this, but I am paranoid....
View Quote
Yes you are...
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 1:03:56 PM EDT
ETH you work for an agency (news not spook)? Nicely timed once again. Quite a few battles have seen one side or another "negotiate" an outcome. Pitched battles haven’t been a fixture of the combat between the NA and the Taliban. But ISMO states correctly that Mazar-e-Sharif has been contested strongly. There’s been atrocities on both sides, initially by a vengeful turncoat, Gen. Malik Pahlawan and Hazara Hizb-i Wahdat and later the Taliban. Plenty of blood to go around and not particularly out of character for this part of the world. The combatants are playing for keeps in Mazar. Twice the Taliban have taken Mazar. In both instances it was defections, first by Malik and then the defection of the Balkh Pastuns, not Taliban military might, that won them the city. Moreover, please understand that Pakistani support was instrumental to the Taliban, in general and in respect to taking this city. Without Pakistani backing, deprived of air support and disrupted by American attacks I don’t see it all that surprising the city fell. But I don’t imagine that it had any more to do with the NA’s combat ability then the Talibans originally. More than likely some factions decided it was prudent to “re-align” themselves. This is the real difficulty when formulating policies and depending on the NA and other indigenous forces. US forces are going to need to be very aware of the shifting alliances, and the dangers they pose. Suppose we will need to see how things shake out. Dostem is in Turkey, that’s jived with what Ive heard and that is VERY interesting. Dostem is a weasel not to be trusted though - Massoud will be very much missed before this is all over. Luck Alac
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 3:42:07 PM EDT
Ok, so when do we get to use it??
Link Posted: 11/9/2001 5:25:22 PM EDT
My question is, if the TB are pulling out of the city and on their way to Kabal to regroup.... wouldn't they all be sitting ducks for the A-10s and any other aircraft? They would be in the open and most likey in somewhat larger numbers, a field day for any pilot's kill box they are crossing into.
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