In the latest developments of the violent civil war in Afghanistan, the Taliban has reportedly cut a weapon supply line key to the opposition, killing at least 25 of their militiamen.
This comes as a significant blow to the opposition, which this week lost two of the four provinces they controlled. Abdullah, a leader of the opposition, commented that "Our fighters have repulsed the attack at Saland, but fighting is still going on at several other fronts."
In response, James Rubin, U.S. State Department spokesman, stated, "We are deeply distressed that after agreeing to a peaceful solution...the result was the Taliban went straight to the battlefield and has taken additional military steps. They are deluding themselves if they think they can win this conflict on the battlefield. The only way to resolve the situation in Afghanistan is for there to be an all-party, all-faction reconciliation. That is the way to peace in Afghanistan."
In addition, Iran - which has had strained relations with the Taliban since the murders of an Iranian journalist and several Iranian diplomats last year - has called upon the United Nations to use their influence to stop the civil war. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi stressed the need for "a political solution rather than military actions," and pressured UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to "use his influence to put an end to the mass killings and interference by foreign forces in Afghanistan."
Media Resources: ando Times and AP - August 3, 1999 and Agence France Presse - August 4, 1999