Fighting continues around Mazar-e-Sharif, a strategic city in the north of Afghanistan, which the Taleban have held for more than five years. A Northern Alliance force headed by General Dostum is fighting in a pocket surrounded on all sides by Taleban troops.
The United States has dropped weapons and ammunition from military helicopters to the Northern Alliance forces, since supply by road is impossable. General Dostum said his troops had captured several villages on the road to Mazar-e-Sharif. But the Taleban later denied these claims, saying its forces had recaptured the villages.
Mazar-e-Sharif sits on a direct road to the Afghan capital, Kabul. It has military airfields and is close to Uzbekistan, where American troops are stationed.