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Northern Alliance- Taliban's fiercest opponent

The United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UIF), or Northern Alliance, is a military-political umbrella organization formed shortly after the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996. Many of the alliance followers were part of the Mujahideen guerillas fighting the Soviets in 1979-1989.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2009 15:32 IST

The United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UIF), or Northern Alliance, is a military-political umbrella organization formed shortly after the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996.

The anti-Taliban alliance comprised of ousted ethnic Tajik president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud and their Jamiat-i-Islami forces, and General Abdul Rashid Dostum and the ethnic Uzbek Junbish-i-Milli party. Many of the alliance followers were part of the Mujahideen guerillas fighting the Soviets in 1979-1989.

Massoud was one of Northern Alliance's most powerful and visible leader, and had personally trained most of its troops. Massoud was killed in September 2001 by Al Qaeda militants reportedly posing as Saudi journalists.

Post 9/11 attacks, it garnered support from the US in the latter's War against Terror. After weeks of persistent bombing of Taliban hideouts by US missiles, the Alliance was finally able to recapture Kabul in November 2001.

The current troop strength of the Alliance is estimated to be anywhere between 10,000 to 12,000 and is believed to be receiving technical aid from Russia, Iran and most recently, the United States. The Alliance is recognized by the United Nations and the governments of other nations.