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November 10, 2001
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Taleban officially admit fall of Mazar-e-Sharif

The Taleban militia officially admitted on Saturday to the fall of the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif to the opposing Northern Alliance forces.

A Taleban spokesman in Kabul also admitted the loss of town of Hairatan near Mazar.

Abdul Henan Hemat, head of the Taleban's Bakhter information agency, said the Taleban withdrew from Mazar-e-Sharif on Friday.

"We withdrew to the outside of Mazar-e-Sharif last night in order to avoid civilian casualties and casualties to our forces." Hemat said, adding the Taleban had also pulled out of Hairatan, a key river port closer to the border with Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, the Afghan opposition reiterated it was still in control of Mazar-e-Sharif and said it had made new gains in the region.

Forces of the Northern Alliance said they took Mazar-e-Sharif from the Taleban on Friday.

"Mazar-e-Sharif is still in our hands one hundred per cent. Now there is peace," said Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for Northern Alliance commander Atta Mohammad.

"We were able to capture Tashqurghan Khulm, 50 km east of Mazar-i-Sharif. We also took part of Hairatan north of Mazar-e-Sharif," the spokesman said.

"We are advancing and we are able to capture more areas," the spokesman added.

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