Afghanistan: August 31, 1999


AFGHANISTAN: The new Taliban offensive launched on 28 July was significant for many things. It marked the bloodiest fighting in years, with 3,000 killed in the first week. It included a significant use of tanks by Taliban, with more than 150 concentrated in two main attack columns. (Taliban had previously used tanks only in small detachments to support specific attacks. Intelligence estimates that Taliban had to hire outside military officers to conduct such a large armor operation as they had no experience in such things.) The offensive was mounted by as many as 15,000 Taliban troops, backed by as many as 4,000 mercenaries from Pakistan and Arab countries.--Stephen V Cole


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