Rocket attacks on Kabul halt flights
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Saturday 31 July 1999
For a third successive day, the Taliban's MiG jets took off from their base at Kabul to pound enemy positions around the Panjshir valley, while ground troops, backed by artillery, pressed north towards two key targets, the town of Tagab and the Bagram air base, 30 miles north of the capital.
In a statement, the opposition conceded that some ground had been lost. But it predicted resistance would intensify as Taliban troops advanced. And another round of rocket attacks on Kabul airport yesterday, which forced a suspension of aid flights, only underlined the fact the Taliban's numerical superiority is no guarantee of an easy victory.
The fighting follows the breakdown of UN-sponsored peace talks earlier this month in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, aimed at finding a power-sharing formula to end 20 years of virtually non-stop war since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Such a deal might have cleared the way for full international recognition of the radical Sunni Muslim government of the Taliban, which has diplomatic ties with only three countries - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
But the forces of Ahmed Massood, who was the military commander under the former Rabbani government overthrown by the Taliban in 1996, are well dug in. They are supported by various Afghan minorities, and have backing from Russia and also Shia Iran, with whom the Taliban came close to full- scale war last year.
The Taliban dismissed as "baseless" a report that the alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden was planning to leave Afghanistan because he fears another US air raid similar to the one that severely damaged his headquarters last year.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...