Ghani Rallies Troops In Besieged City As Taliban Extends Northern Blitz

Ghani Rallies Troops In Besieged City As Taliban Extends Northern Blitz

Andrew H. Sweet

In Mazar, Ghani held talks with long-time local strongman Atta Mohammad Noor and infamous warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum about the city's defense as Taliban fighters inched closer to its outskirts.

Officials did not indicate the outcome but later said two of the country's top soldiers had been replaced by General Hibatullah Alizia as armed forces chief and General Sami Sadat leading the elite commandos.

The loss of Mazar would be a catastrophic blow to the Kabul government and represent the complete collapse of its control over the north -- long a bastion of anti-Taliban militias.

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