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Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 19:20:21 LCL
Reply-To: David P Straub <David.P.Straub-1@tc.umn.edu>
Sender: Former Soviet Republic - Central Asia Political Discussion List <CENASIA@VM1.MCGILL.CA>
From: David P. Straub <David.P.Straub-1@TC.UMN.EDU>
Subject: Warlord flees
To: Multiple recipients of list CENASIA <CENASIA@VM1.MCGILL.CA>

Afghanistan Warlord flees as revolt hands province to rival

AFP, Tuesday 25 November 1997

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Kabul Forces loyal to northern Afghan warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum have won control of a strategic province from a rival warlord who has fled the country, say sources.

General Dostum's fighters now control northwestern Faryab province after General Abdul Malik fled to Turkmenistan early on Sunday.

Maimana, the provincial capital, fell to General Dostum's forces as ethnic Uzbek General Malik and his brothers fled by helicopter.

There was no sign of any resistance in the town and all the key officials switched sides to Dostum, the source said. Malik and his four brothers escaped to a foreign country after Dostum's assault on Saturday.

An opposition spokesman yesterday claimed General Dostum's supporters took up positions at crucial points in and around Maimana and beat back Taleban attacks.

General Dostum was ousted by General Malik in May and spent four months in exile in Turkey. But after his return, General Dostum reasserted his power, particularly in Faryab.

General Dostum said a series of local uprisings prompted General Malik's early departure, though not before he and his brother, General Gul Mohammad Pehlawan, destroyed two arms depots.

Senior Taleban officials, including Mullah Abur Razzaq held by General Malik in Maimana, managed to escape, General Dostum said, adding there were nearly 150 Taleban prisoners held in the Faryab headquarters.

The Taleban mouthpiece, Radio Shariat, has so far made no comment on the military developments.

General Dostum's representative in Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Baqi Turkestani, said the warlord's troops were aided by local people who had revolted against General Malik for allegedly ordering the massacre of about 2,000 Taleban troops captured in May.

He said the Taleban prisoners, including high-ranking officials were taken out from different camps, shot and dumped in mass graves.

General Malik sided with the Taleban to help them enter Mazar-i-Sharif in May but within days his forces turned against them, killing a large number of Taleban fighters.