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Wedeman: Alliance claims it's taken Mazar-e Sharif



(CNN) -- Northern Alliance Gen. Rashid Dostum said Friday his troops had entered the strategic Taliban stronghold of Mazar-e Sharif. The claim could not be independently confirmed.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is based near the city. He filed this report:

WEDEMAN: According to Northern Alliance officials ... the attack on Mazar-e Sharif began about five hours ago and in that time they say they have been able to reclaim the city. Those claims cannot be independently verified. What we're hearing from our sources here in northern Afghanistan is that there were minimal Northern Alliance casualties, that there were a large number of Taliban defections and large numbers of Taliban forces have been captured.

Certainly this would be an almost record time in which any of the warring factions in Afghanistan have been able to take control of a major Afghan city.

CNN: How credible is this report?

WEDEMAN: Certainly, we have to approach this very cautiously. We have in the past heard many claims from the Northern Alliance, as well as from the Taliban, of victories, of advances, or recapturing of areas -- when in fact either that didn't take place or that brief capture was very brief indeed.

Certainly the preponderance of claims at the moment would make one think that possibly these claims are true. But certainly, the situation being very fluid on the ground and the fact that there's nobody there other than the warring forces to verify it, one should approach these claims very cautiously indeed.



 
 
 
 


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