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Attacks by Afghan rebels cause blackouts in capital

Afghan rebels have begun a series of attacks on power supplies, causing blackouts in Kabul, the capital, and in other parts of the country, Western diplomats here said Tuesday.

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The attacks against power plants and convoys carrying fuel started in the past week, at the height of the Afghan winter, when temperatures fall well below freezing. Besides Kabul, Afghanistan's main western city, Herat, and the main northern town, Mazar-i-Sharif, have also been hit.

The diplomats, who have missions in Kabul, said the main target of the attacks was in the capital. They said the power situation in the capital was as bad as at any time since Soviet troops arrived in the country four years ago and it was equally bad in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Kerosene used by the capital's residents mainly for cooking and heating was also in short supply because attacks in northern Afghanistan on convoys bringing it from the Soviet Union.

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