Afghan Taliban claim "peaceful" takeover of district from rivals
Fri 02 Oct 98 - 13:17 GMT
ISLAMABAD, Oct 2 (AFP) - Afghanistan's Taliban Islamic militia Friday took over "peacefullly" a district from rival Hezb-i-Wahdat faction in the southern province of Ghazni, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported.
"We entered the district of Jaghori peacefully as the locals cooperated with us and Wahdat soldiers laid down their arms," the private information service quoted Taliban officials as saying.
The Hezb-i-Wahdat, which lost its stronghold of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan last month to the Islamic militia, represents the ethnic Hazara community of Shiite Moslems.
Most of Ghazni has been in the control of the Taliban, with some pockets in the hands of the Hezb-i-Wahdat faction.
The Taliban, a force dominated by ethnic Pashtuns, the majority community in Afghanistan, have extended their control to around 90 percent of the country since seizing the capital Kabul in September 1996.
In August, the Islamic militia drove out a northern opposition alliance from its bastion of Mazar-i-Sharif, where eight Iranian diplomats and a journalist were killed by Taliban soldiers.
The killings triggered a crisis between the Taliban and Iran, which has massed troops along the Afghan border and is demanding the killers be arrested and punished and around 40 Iranians still in Taliban captivity be freed.
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