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OPPONENTS TRADE FIRE IN KABUL

The thud of bombs and staccato bursts of anti-aircraft fire over the capital Sunday disrupted the wailful sound of morning prayers.

Fighter jets belonging to northern warlord Rashid Dostum made bombing raids over Kabul. His soldiers also battled the Taliban Islamic army on a second front in western Afghanistan.

The Taliban forces retaliated with a bomb attack to the north on Jebul Siraj, the headquarters of deposed military chief Ahmed Shah Massood who is allied with Dostum.

In Kabul, one bomb hit a park, leaving a 12-foot-wide crater. Another bomb hit the airport on the northwestern edge of the city, witnesses said.

The Taliban army of former religious students control roughly two-thirds of Afghanistan and say they are extending their rule in western regions previously run by Dostum.

But Dostum's spokesman in northern Mazar-e-Sharif denied that.

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