Despite significant military setbacks in recent weeks, Afghanistan's United Front leader Ahmad Shah Massoud is confident that he can hold the present frontline against further Taliban advances, at least until winter snows by end October makes fighting more difficult. Contrary to press reports his supply lines from Tajikistan to Badakhshan, the last major province under his control, are still open.
In his first interview since the Taliban offensive in north eastern Afghanistan began in August, Massoud said Pakistan had two sent two brigades and an artillery battalion to help the Taliban capture Taloqan which fell on September 5.
Ahmed Rashid is a journalist and author of the book "Taliban: Militant Islam and Fundamentalism in Central Asia."
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