The Afghan Way of War

As a rebel offensive sends the Taliban running, Time's Romesh Ratnesar looks at how both sides fight to the death

SERGEI CHERKOV/AFP

TURNING TIDE? Rebels say they have pushed Taliban forces out of the north

In the dead of night, horses poured from the hills. They came charging down from the craggy ridges in groups of 10, their riders dressed in flowing shalwar kameez and armed with AK-47s and grenade launchers. In the Kishindi Valley below, 35 miles south of the prized northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, the few Taliban tanks in the area not destroyed by American bombs took aim at the Northern Alliance cavalry galloping toward them. But the 600 horsemen had been ordered to charge directly into the line of fire. "If you ride fast enough, you can get to them," an Alliance spokesman...

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