Afghan militia chief Atta Noor confirms escape with fellow leader Dostum
Afghan militia chief Atta Noor confirms escape with fellow leader Dostum

Atta Mohammad Noor, former governor of the northern Afghan province of Balkh who had been commanding local militia forces when the capital Mazar-i-Sharif fell to the Taliban confirmed he was safe and blamed the fall of the city on a "conspiracy".

Taliban forces entered Mazar-i-Sharif virtually unopposed on Saturday as security forces escaped up the highway to neighbouring Uzbekistan, provincial officials said.

Atta Noor, once one of the most powerful political figures in Afghanistan said in a post on Facebook that both he and fellow regional strongman Marshal Abul Rashid Dostum had escaped.

"Unfortunately, as result of a large, organized and cowardly conspiracy, all government facilities and government forces were handed over to the Taliban," he wrote, adding: "They wanted to trap my friend Marshal Abdul Rashid and me, but they did not succeed." (Reporting by Kabul bureau; Editing by Alison Williams)

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