Published: Saturday 31 July 1999

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement urged the international community to help it extinguish a huge fire raging in the eastern forests. Reports on what caused the fire in the Paich valley of Kunar province are sketchy, but several thousand families have fled their homes and international help is required to douse the blaze, a Taliban official said. He said the fire has spread to other parts of the valley, covering hundreds of hectares. At least four people have been killed. Kunar is a key source of timber exports to Gulf countries.

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