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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 14:17 GMT
Mazar residents hail Taleban defeat
The radio station in Mazar-e Sharif lost no time in switching sides after the Afghan opposition took the city from the Taleban.

It went out onto the streets to find out what ordinary people thought of the turn in events.


We used to be discriminated against and threatened by the strangers, but thank God we are now free

Mazar-e Sharif resident Fridun

One man, who identified himself as Fridun, said he was very happy at the departure of "the strangers".

"We used to be discriminated against and threatened by the strangers, but thank God we are now free," he said.

"We wish that they could take full control of Afghanistan. We are very happy."

Difficult times

Asked to describe life under the Taleban, he said that things had been rather tough.

"They used to treat people in a very bad way, they used to threaten people, they used to upset them and we were suffering," he said.

"Thank God they have fled and we are very happy that the government forces have succeeded."


We are very cheerful

Mazar-e Sharif resident

Asked how the victorious Northern Alliance forces had behaved towards the people of Mazar-e Sharif, he said "they did not inflict any damage or cause harm. The situation is calm and peaceful and no-one has been hurt."

He expressed the hope that peace would now be restored to the country.

"I hope things quieten down throughout Afghanistan. We need peace and I hope that our people can live in tranquillity and calm. We are happy that we have been freed," he said.

Another man, who identified himself as a medical student called Nisar, also expressed relief that the Taleban had been driven out of the city.

"We were oppressed by strangers and now we feel comfortable and we hope that the Islamic State of Afghanistan army captures the whole of the northern zone and Afghanistan."

Nisar said that Taleban rules on the wearing of beards had been "a big problem" for many young men, but that he hoped things would now improve.

Congratulations

Earlier, the radio had broadcast a message from General Abdur Rashid Dostum, the ethnic Uzbek commander spearheading the anti-Taleban campaign in northern Afghanistan, seeking to reassure the people of Mazar-e Sharif that they need have no fears for their safety.

"I fully assure you that no one can disturb you and that you can continue your lives and work in a peaceful and fraternal atmosphere," he said.

"The security of your lives and your property has been fully ensured."


The anti-Taleban forces have entered the city to greet and enquire after the health of the people of Mazar-e Sharif

US Psy-ops radio

US psychological operations (Psy-ops) radio also broadcast a message congratulating the people of Mazar-e Sharif on their liberation from the Taleban.

"Greetings to the courageous people of Afghanistan. Be joyful and celebrate. The city of Mazar-e Sharif has been liberated. The evil rule of the Taleban over the people of this city has been brought to an end," the message began.

"The anti-Taleban forces have entered the city to greet and enquire after the health of the people of Mazar-e Sharif...

"Afghanistan has taken a major stride toward toppling the Taleban dictatorship."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Ian MacWilliam
"The people are coming to terms with their change of fortunes"
See also:

10 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan opposition claim new gains
10 Nov 01 | South Asia
Upping the stakes in Afghanistan
25 Sep 01 | South Asia
Profile: General Rashid Dostum
10 Nov 01 | Middle East
Al-Qaeda says its war continues
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