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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Afghanistan Shells Wounded 4 in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbekistan said Tuesday that shells from clashes in neighboring Afghanistan fell on its territory last week, injuring four civilians.

An Uzbek Foreign Ministry statement expressed alarm at fierce fighting raging just across the border around the disputed northern Afghan town of Mazar-i-Sharif.

"As a result of exchanges of fire between the warring sides on Afghan territory, several shells have landed on Uzbek territory, wounding four civilians," the statement said.

The statement, which could not be independently confirmed, said the Afghan shells hit Uzbek territory in the last few days.

The purist Islamic Taliban militia advanced toward Mazar-i-Sharif, which is held by anti-Taliban forces, two weeks ago. Opposition factions began fighting among themselves as looters rampaged through the city.

Aid workers, who were evacuated during the weekend from the city, described scenes of anarchy.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said the republic, an ex-Soviet state of 23 million, would strengthen security along the Afghan frontier.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov, the republic's ex-Communist Party chieftain who fears radical Islam, has been the most vocal of Central Asia's leaders in his opposition to Taliban advances into northern Afghanistan.

The Taliban were driven back from the Mazar-i-Sharif's outskirts and its airport last week.