30 Civilians Reported Killed in Afghanistan

From Associated Press via The L.A. Times
July 2, 2000

KABUL, Afghanistan--A blistering battle north of this war-battered Afghan capital on Saturday left as many as 30 civilians dead and scores of fighters injured and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes. Opposition soldiers said 30 civilians were killed by Taliban jet fighters that pounded enemy territory in Parwan and Kapisa provinces, both north of Kabul. Because of the fighting and the remoteness of the area, it was impossible to confirm the report independently. "The bombardment was heavy. We just heard by radio that 30 civilians were killed by jets," said Bismillah Khan, an opposition commander at Baghram air base, 30 miles north of Kabul.

He said the fighting that raged early Saturday had tapered off by late afternoon, with troops on both sides engaging in sporadic artillery duels. The Taliban, a fundamentalist Muslim movement known for the strict brand of Islamic law it imposes, controls about 90% of the country. The opposition, which rules the remainder, says it is ready to negotiate but not to surrender. Each side accused the other of launching Saturday's offensive. The fighting forced hundreds of civilians to flee the area, particularly in Parwan province, Khan said. They fled to the Panjshir Valley, which is controlled by opposition leader Ahmed Shah Masoud.

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