100 disfigured bodies recovered near Mazar

PESHAWAR, Oct 9, more than 100 bodies have been recovered from different parts of northern Afghanistan with their noses and ears chopped off. The tragic event has sent a wave of shock and deep concern among people across the war-torn country.

The slain bodies, according to Afghan sources, are lying scattered in the affected areas and people from different parts of the country have gathered to mourn the incident, the worsever in the history of Afghanistan.

It is believed that these people were killed in recent fighting between the warring Afghan groups in and around Mazar-e-Sharif.

Another view is that these people were made hostages by local Afghan commanders belonging to various factions and were subjected to such a shameful and barbaric treatment simply out of revenge. Most of the bodies were recovered from Qazi Abad, Dehdadi and Jungle Areas, all close to Mazar-e-Sharif.

They mostly included women and children.

Meanwhile, Cooperation Center for Afghanistan (CCA) and Afghan NGO has expressed deep concern over the gory incident and demanded immediate attention of the world community for taking punitive measures to stop such horrible barbarian acts in Afghanistan.

The organization has also sought help of the Security Council, human rights organizations, Afghan intellectuals and Ulema for playing their due role in preventing large scale killings of Afghan, due to continued fighting.

Reports from northern Afghanistan said that fighting has intensified between the Taliban and the forces of commander Ahmad Shah Masud after the latter captured most parts of Kunduz airport.

The Masud forced have reportedly strengthened their grip on the airport and made it difficult for the student militia to operate flights.

The Taliban were said to be employing each and every tactic in their bid to recapture the lost portion of the airport in the northern province.

The Daily Muslim, October 10,1997

Iranian mercenaries captured

PESHAWAR, Oct 6: The Afghan government forces on Monday seized a couple of strategic areas in northern province of Takhar and arrested 300 opposition fighters including 11 Iranians fighting for the Northern Alliance, claimed Taliban sources in Peshawar.

"Forces of commander Ahmad Shah Masud launched a massive attack against the Taliban on Monday. The offensive was successfully repulsed and about 300 opposition fighters were captured, said the Taliban source. 11 Iranians were also apprehended from Samangan province and they were later shifted to northern Kunduz province. The Iranians allegedly fighting for the anti-Taliban forces would be shifted to capital Kabul in a day or so. The Taliban again accused Iran of providing military support to the opposition groups, particularly during the recent fighting around Mazar-e-Sharif.

The opposition sources here strongly refuted the Taliban claim to have made any gains in Takhar of Samangan province and that the Iranians had been found involved in fighting against the Islamic militia. The opposition also denied Talibanís accusations to have received any military support from Iran.

Earlier, the Taliban claimed that their militia had made inroads in Takhar and captured Bangi district from the forces of commander Masud which had hardly participated in recent fighting with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. After a month-long stalemate, the Masud forces renewed fighting in Takhar and Kunduz province but failed cause any major upset in both the northern provinces.

The Daily Muslim, October 7,1997


Anti-Taliban forces backed by Iran

Mazar-I-Sharif, (Afghanistan), Oct.27 (AFP): Huge quantities of Iranian supplied arms and ammunition are backing the northern Afghan anti-Taliban alliance against their hardline rivals, sources here told AFP.

While faction leaders and Iranian diplomats based in this dusty northern strong old fiercely deny weapons handouts, ordinary soldiers say the supplies are no secret within alliance ranks.

"Iran has helped us in many ways including sending us weapons in by plane," said one soldier form the Shitte Muslim Hezb-e-Wahdat fiction, a proud owner of what he admitted was an Iranian-made Kalashnikov rifle.

According to the rank and file here, the city could have succumbed to a major Taliban attack a month ago had emergency Iranian military aid not been rushed in.

"maybe we would have lost Mazar-I-Sharif if Iran didnít help us," a soldier from the faction said.

Two weeks ago Taliban forces were beaten back from Mazar-I-Sharif, after they had at one point entered the city limits of the opposition allianceís seat of shadow government from the south, east and west.

Fierce resistance from the Shiite Hezb-I-Wahdat and Harakat-I-Islami factions - who have emerged as the strongest factions in the city - forced the Taliban to pull their forces back amid heavy battles.

Independent sources have confirmed the arrival of vast quantities of weapons in the past month, flown in to three air bases near here on aged ex-Soviet and alliance-operated transport aircraft.

"The planes have been coming in regularly and are packed with ammunition crates. Airport workers say they arrived from Mashhad in Iran," a source, who requested anonymity, told AFP.

"Whether or not the weapons have been donated is the question. That they have been pouring in is common knowledge and not very well concealed," another independent source added.

Despite pushing back Taliban forces from their base for the second time this year amid colossal use of ammunition, alliance troops appear to have enough arms to keep fighting Afghanistanís 17 year-old civil war.

Most soldiers are armed with aged Russian Kalashnikov rifles, but many brandish new weapons they say are made in Iran or Russia.

Iranian made rocket-propelled grenade launchers with thousands of grenades have also found their way onto the city streets, and hundreds of freshly packed small calibre rockets - complete with instructions and markings in Persian - can be seen in faction bases.

Although alliance troops are more than willing to openly explain the influx over a cup of tea, faction leaders fiercely deny any direct military support from Iran.

"I do not believe we have Iranian weapons," asserted Karim Khalili, leader of Hezb-I-Wahdat. "We donít buy weapons from Iran and they donít give them to us either."

The chief commander of Harakat-I-Islami, Sayed Hussain Anwari, said Iranian arms held by his troops were brought on the open arms market.

Senior diplomats in the Iranian consulate here also strongly denied giving any support to the opposition, and instead tried to redirect journalists towards alleged Pakistani backing of the Taliban.

According to the Taliban who control around two thirds of war-torn Afghanistan including the capital Kabul, Russia, Uzbekinstan, Tajikistan. India and France are also backing their northern opponents.

For their part, the Taliban are accused of receiving military and cash aid from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The Daily Muslim, October 28,1997

Taliban killed around 100 villagers

NNI: Taliban tanks razed a village in Northern Afghanistan following the militian retreat from Mazar-e-Sarif, killing around 100 villagers, Afghan alliance sources claimed here on Sunday. However, Afghan ambassador in Islamabad dismissed the reports as totally incorrect.

"We have received reports that after Talibanís defeat they attacked village Charkend in Chamtal tehsil and killed around 100 civilians", the alliance sources said. Reports about the killings received here after anti-Talibanís forces gains outside Mazar-e-Sharif and Taliban retreat the sources. Afghan ambassador Maulvi Shahbuddin Dilawar, when contacted by NNI, said the alliance forces are themselves killing civilians and put blame on Taliban. He said local people extend support to Taliban forces even in northern Afghanistan.

Taliban forces, engaged in fierce fighting with the alliance forced for control of Mazar-e-Sharif, have suffered losses in two days. The opposition source said Taliban fighters, in their frustrated move, did not spare women and children when they targeted villages. They claimed that fighting is going on near Tashgurghan and Hairaatan areas.

The Daily Muslim, October 5,1997

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