N. Alliance Overruns 4 Afghan Provinces, Pushes West

Upon capturing the key city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the Northern Alliance forces went on to overrun four provinces in the north of the country - Samangan, Sara-i-Pol, Faryab, and Uruzgan. The Alliance's General Abdul Rashid Dostum said his troops were advancing to join up with those led by veteran commander Ismail Khan in the western province of Badghis to launch a major attack on the city of Herat. The General said that in some areas, no encounters with the Taliban forces had been reported, although the Taliban had put up fierce resistance elsewhere. United States warplanes Saturday continued to pound the Taliban strongholds north of Kabul and around the Bagram airport. In separate news, the Qatar-based al Jazeera television reported that US missile and bomb strikes had devastated three villages west of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, killing some 300 civilians. Only 133 bodies had been found in the rubble, the network said.

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