There is a stalemate between Taliban and rival forces in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic group that began as a student-led movement, removed Afghani government leaders on Sept. 27. It is suspected that Pakistan is backing the Taliban power. A Northern alliance of anti-Taliban forces, including General Abdul Rashid Dostum, ousted military chief Massoud and a few other prominent figures, has since retaliated to restore power to the exiled government.

At this point, Dostum's forces are considered by the surrounding countries India, Russia and Iran as the final hope against the Taliban's spread of extreme fundamentalism.

Sources: Houston Chronicle and The New York Times .

This item appeared in the News section of the November 8, 1996 issue.

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