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Taliban tighten control of Afghan north as residents weigh options

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KABUL (Reuters) -Taliban fighters tightened their control of captured territory in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday as residents hid in their homes and a pro-government commander vowed to fight to the death to defend Mazar-i-Sharif, the biggest city in the north. President Ashraf Ghani called on regional strongmen to support his embattled government after a stunning string of Taliban gains and as the United States said it was up to Ghani’s forces to defend themselves. In the town of Aibak, capital of Samangan province on the main road between Mazar-i-Sharif and the national capital, Kabul, Tali…

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