Afghanistan: December 23, 1999


The Northern Alliance (which opposes the Taliban government) led by Ahmadshah Massoud is negotiating to buy new Igla-1 (SA-16 Gimlet) shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. There are thought to be no more than 20 Stingers remaining in Afghanistan from the original shipments sent prior to 1992. Massoud has used Stingers to shoot down two Taliban fighters near Taloqan during October and November. Taliban bombs Taloqan (the defacto capital of Massoud's forces) every week. --Stephen V Cole

The Taliban has opened peace negotiations with Iran. For several years, Iran has maintained large military forces on their Afghan border. The disputes are part religious, part ethnic, and part economic (much of the Afghan opium productions is sent across the Iran border, illegally.)


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