Thousands flee Afghan fighting
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Thousands of people were heading towards the Panjshir Valley to flee fighting erupted north of capital Kabul yesterday, reports Azadi Afghan Radio.
The radio correspondent witnessed the influx of thousands of refugees from the frontline and adjacent areas in Parwan and Kapisa provinces toward the Panjshir Valley.
It was reported that thousands of civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly, were seen fleeing the fighting, in some case barefooted.
According to the report Taliban launched a major offensive near the strategic Bagram military airfield late Friday, but there are no reports of any changes to the frontline positions yet. After initial gains, the Taliban were forced to retreat following an opposition counter-offensive.
An official of the United Front opposition, led by commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, said that dozens of Taliban fighters have been killed and captured in this much-awaited offensive.
Thousands of Pakistani recruits, mostly from pro-Taliban institutions, were reported to have arrived in Afghanistan in the past few weeks to take part in the Taliban offensive. "Two thousand new recruits, in this case para-military units, arrived through the eastern city of Jalalabad on Thursday," said A. Wali Massoud, the Afghan envoy in Britain.
Arab fighters, numbering around 800 men, believed to belong to brigades under the command of Osama Ben Laden, are also deployed alongside the Taliban forces. Dr. Abdullah, opposition spokesman has warned that all foreign fighters of court-martial under Afghan penal laws if captured.
"We want to make it clear to the foreign mercenaries that they will be treated as spies and criminals of war if they are captured fighting for Taliban,'' Dr Abdullah said.
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