Afghans Commemorate Anniversary of Mujahedeen Victory

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Afghanistan Wednesday commemorated the 1992 toppling of a Soviet-backed regime, which led to bloody civil war and the rise of the Taliban, as insurgent violence across the country reaped a high toll.

Helicopter gunships clattered over Kabul as the Afghan army staged a 21-gun salute at a sports stadium that the Taliban regime used as a public execution ground during the 1996-2001 civil war.

It was the first public commemoration of the 1992 overthrow since an assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai by gunmen and suicide bombers, in attack claimed by the Taliban, marred the 2008 event.

Thousands of people including dignitaries gathered at dawn at Kabul Ghazi stadium to celebrate the overthrow of the pro-Moscow regime 18 years ago -- and the start of a civil war often seen as starting the Taliban's path to power.

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