Talk:Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif

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Title[edit]

is the title of this page spelled correctly? in other articles, its spelled mazari sharifToddSweeney (talk) 14:14, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

"Approximately 520 Taliban, demoralized and defeated, many of whom were fighters from Pakistan, were massacred when they were discovered hiding in a school."

This is unsourced and smells like BS. WDW Megaraptor (talk) 02:12, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Image of U.S. Special Forces[edit]

I've changed the caption of the image to the description given by the DoD. Words like "propaganda" and "underdog" are POV and I think they should be avoided (unless there's a source for it). Also, I found a link to the 2002 report by former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld here. If you are going to use this source to cite the previous caption, can you refer to a specific section of the report? It appears to be a lengthy document.

Is this image even appropriate? It says it was taken on November 12, whereas the battle described took place a few days before. Is there any source that links this photo to the battle?

BTW, thank you Sherurcij for your efforts to improve the article. It was a mess before you started editing it.Lawrencema (talk) 08:44, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Everything I've managed to find suggests the photograph was propaganda, and later became a personal "fetish" of sorts for Donald Rumsfeld anxious to create the image of "hero" underdogs fighting the evil Taliban. I'm trying to remain NPOV, and I can understand the connotation of "underdog" which isn't in any of the works I've consulted (yet), but "Propaganda" seems to be quite often and officially used to describe the accounts of horseback troops at Mazar-i-Sharif. Per the date, you're right it's the "same troops" three days after the battle - but it seems to be the only photo of those troops so until/unless we find better - I think it stays. I caught whiff of the poor state of battle articles with Operation Red Wing and resolved to spend a week fixing it, now am trying to bring this article up to the same standards of verifiable information and research. Feel free to help out, and I welcome any criticisms. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 17:40, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Did You Know? nomination[edit]

This article has been nominated for Did You Know? on the Main Page. It was recommended that the layout be improved, so I have moved some of the pictures round, added one photo caption to the main body of the text and removed two pictures for which there wasn't really enough space: this one and this one. Hassocks5489 (tickets please!) 12:44, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Explanation of partial reversion[edit]

I have been partially reverting this article, keeping the additions which are NPOV and do not give undue weight to any topic (We don't need three paragraphs discussing how "smart" "smart bombs" are, for example) Sherurcij (speaker for the dead)

Undid the renaming of the Fall to "The Battle for Mazar-i-Sharif", since one force fled and there was no battle
Undid the moniker "pro-Taliban occupied stronghold" before "Sultan Razia school", there is controversy in published sources whether it held prisoners of war who had negotiated a surrender, or militants, so it is better than the image caption not give the wrong idea.
Changed "handbills" back to "propaganda", but I recognise this is not an absolute improvement - either one is disingenuous in my opinion, for that image. So arguments can be made and I'll abide by consensus.
Removed the introduction "Considered the most important city in northern Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif is not only the home of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali or "Blue Mosque", a sacred Muslim site" because it is not only a terrible way to open the article, but irrelevant to the fall of the city - I kept in the part about its importance due to the road to Uzbekistan and the two airports. Those seem militarily relevant.
Undid the change of "aerial bombardment" to " Close Air Support platforms" which seems jargony, and unfamiliar to laymen. If it can be better explained, the term can be changed.
removed the insertion of "precision air strikes on key command and control centers" because the only source for that kind of wording is blatantly POV. We can try and find better wording if we want.
removed the insertion of "It made it possible, at last, to draw a cross on a map to show where the Taliban had been pushed back" because it seems crufty, and we already mention in plain prose how it is was the first major victory.
removed discussion which suggested the airport was only used for "deliveries by relief organizations to hungry people in the countryside. This aid alleviated Afghanistan's looming food crisis, which had threatened more than six million people with starvation." as it seems disingenuous, given that six million people did starve in Afghanistan the week/month/year/decade before the bombing.
Kept the removal of "American propaganda" to simply "American authorities", fair NPOV
Removed the addition of "Al-Qaeda-backed" to the name Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, there is a wikilink if we want to learn who aids which groups.
Removed the addition of " manned by over 200 mounted Taliban and Al-Qaeda personnel" since no credible source suggests AQ held MiS.
Undid the change of "while there were fears that they were massing for a counter-offensive" to "in an attempt to mass for a counter-offensive" since the United States cannot speak with authority as to the intentions of the Taliban.
Removed the moniker "Young female" from in front of "students", since it is unnecessary.
Undid the change from "bombardment" to "Air Interdiction missions" since we the date is not 1984.

Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 22:08, 26 April 2009 (UTC)


Here is where you err-

-Quote: "I have been partially reverting this article, keeping the additions which are NPOV and do not give undue weight to any topic (We don't need three paragraphs discussing how "smart" "smart bombs" are, for example)"

Actually you haven't been "partially reverting this article", instead you've been replacing the whole article with what you deem as appropriate. Since, I've expalined to you in the past, I will not go into it at length. There is a marked difference in what a smart bomb is capable of versus carpet bombing or aerial bombardment of an area. At no time were targets "Carpet bombed" they were all engaged with precision munitions guided by individuals with mensurated (enhanced meathod) coordinates.


-Quote: removed the insertion of "precision air strikes on key command and control centers" because the only source for that kind of wording is blatantly POV. We can try and find better wording if we want.

Since it is about the battle for Mazar that we are speaking, "precision air strikes on key command and control centers" is exactly what transpired. No where in that area of operations during that time period were there and errant bombs. All precautions were made to prevent collateral damage to the infrastructure and civilians. Please refer to the official government and non-governmental archives. The bombing of the Mirwais Mina hospital that you continue to put in the article happened in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, not Mazar-i Sharif.


-Quote: Undid the change of "aerial bombardment" to " Close Air Support platforms" which seems jargony, and unfamiliar to laymen. If it can be better explained, the term can be changed.

All targets were engaged by Close Air Support platforms (aircraft). "Close Air Support" is the proper term and very familiar to the "layman". If it is, by any stretch of the imagination, too difficult of a term to grasp, it can be Googled. In fact, there is a well written article within Wikipedia that covers that term.


-Quote: Undid the change from "bombardment" to "Air Interdiction missions" since we the date is not 1984.

Let's not omit or changed "Air Interdiction missions" just because you aren't familiar with the term. The above mentioned article covers "Air Interdiction missions" as well, if you would like to take the time to read it. No, this is not 1984, but I guarantee that "AI" missions were carried out during that timeframe.


-Quote: "Undid the renaming of the Fall to "The Battle for Mazar-i-Sharif", since one force fled and there was no battle"

In all actuality a battle did take place for the city, it wasn't until the pro-Taliban forces realized that it was futile that they "fled" in order to regroup in Konduz were they subsequently surrendered after negotiations with General Dostum.


-Quote: "Removed the introduction "Considered the most important city in northern Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif is not only the home of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali or "Blue Mosque", a sacred Muslim site" because it is not only a terrible way to open the article, but irrelevant to the fall of the city - I kept in the part about its importance due to the road to Uzbekistan and the two airports. Those seem militarily relevant."

The relevance of the "Blue Mosque" and its religious significance was not lost on the military leadership, in that, they saw that they would hold hugh psychological advantage in being in control of that area. I am glad that you saw it fit to keep the part about the airports and road into Uzbek and feel that they are relevant militarily. Since, I am sure, with your background you are an experienced Military Tactician and Historian.


-Quote: "Undid the moniker "pro-Taliban occupied stronghold" before "Sultan Razia school", there is controversy in published sources whether it held prisoners of war who had negotiated a surrender, or militants, so it is better than the image caption not give the wrong idea."{

If one would take time to read the article and references, they would find that the "Sultan Razia school" was held by Pro-Taliban fighters (Arabs, Chechens, as well as Pakistanis) and not "prisoners of war who had negotiated a surrender". Two peace envoys attempting negotiations for surrender as well as civilians simply passing by the building were gunned down by the occupants of the building. It wasn't until exhaustive negotiation attempts were made by city Mullahs, U.S. and Northern Alliance commanders that the decision to strike was carried out. At no time during these negotiation attempts were they willing to surrender.


-Quote: Changed "handbills" back to "propaganda", but I recognise this is not an absolute improvement - either one is disingenuous in my opinion, for that image. So arguments can be made and I'll abide by consensus.

The term "Handbills" is what the Psycological Operations commuity uses. It is what the piece of paper is, nothing less, nothing more. Call it what it is. What it is used for is a different story and by calling it "propaganda" is in essence being opinionated.


-Quote: removed the insertion of "It made it possible, at last, to draw a cross on a map to show where the Taliban had been pushed back" because it seems crufty, and we already mention in plain prose how it is was the first major victory

Funny that you would remove this, since it's a direct quote from one of the very articles that you placed in the reference section.


-Quote: removed discussion which suggested the airport was only used for "deliveries by relief organizations to hungry people in the countryside. This aid alleviated Afghanistan's looming food crisis, which had threatened more than six million people with starvation." as it seems disingenuous, given that six million people did starve in Afghanistan the week/month/year/decade before the bombing.

At no time was it suggested that the airport was "only" used for humanitarian aid. It also stated, in two seperate places, that it was used for "resupply routes" and resupply missions" implying military use. But, never did any combat sorties (i.e. F/A 18's) or "aerial bombardment" missions as you like to call them, ever depart from those airfields during that time period. Yes, there were fears that millions would did die from starvation prior to the opening of the airport and land bridge. Hence the "deliveries by relief organizations" not just U.S. Which, by the way, were not permitted under Taliban rule.


-Quote: Removed the addition of " manned by over 200 mounted Taliban and Al-Qaeda personnel" since no credible source suggests AQ held MiS.

There are numerous reports both government and otherwise that Al-Qaeda foreign fighters - including Arabs, Chechens, Pakistanis, Uzbeks and Chinese Uyghurs were manning those positions. Official documents were found not only on those captured but the deceased as well. "... but a Kashmir separatist group linked to al-Qaida, Harkat-i-Jehad-i-Islami, yesterday said 85 of its fighters were killed in recent US airstrikes around Mazar-i-Sharif."[reference 14]


-Quote: Undid the change of "while there were fears that they were massing for a counter-offensive" to "in an attempt to mass for a counter-offensive" since the United States cannot speak with authority as to the intentions of the Taliban.

Once again this was a direct quote from one of the very articles that you placed in the reference section. This was not a speculation by the U.S. but came from what Mullah Dadullah actully said his intentions were. Later, when his fighters surrendered in Knoduz, this was verified during interrogation.


-Quote: Removed the moniker "Young female" from in front of "students", since it is unnecessary.

Why is it "unnecessary"? It was a school for young girls prior to the Taliban banning them from having an education and it was rededicated as one. Not as a school for young Men. After all we don't want the layman to get confused.--FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny (talk) 02:07, 27 April 2009 (UTC)


I appreciate your willingness to talk "behind the scenes", as I think it's the only place we'll really hash this out. We have adapted to follow the policy of Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. This means that "we don't expect that they should trust something just because they read it in Wikipedia. All we do is provide what we hope are the most appropriate sources, and a readable text that sums up what they are saying in a way that we hope makes readers want to know more." In short, we summarise what books, newspapers and other media say about the event...and then hope that people are interested enough to go learn more on their own - whether from traditional sources, or talking to people who were actually there. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 14:25, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

We should provide appropriate sources and sum up what they are saying in a NPOV format. Unfortunately, as one reads this article as you wrote it or when you revise it, it becomes painfully obvious that it is filled with your point of view. If you want to present your POV that's fine as long as you present the other side as well. Otherwise, clean it up and make it COMPLETELY NPOV.--FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny (talk) 18:46, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Request for Comment[edit]

The crux of the issue is that one user does not believe that "After outlying villages fell, and an intensive aerial bombardment around the city, the Taliban ordered 5,000-14,000 troops to withdraw from the city entirely." is an accurate summary for the introduction, and alleges that he was present at the battle and nobody fled the city. On the opposing argument, it seems to be a summary of Shol Gal, Keshendeh and Ag Kupruk, from references 14 and 10, and "withdrew" is a summary of 6,11 and 21.

The same user also disputes the inclusion of the name of the American officer who called in the airstrike against Sultan Razia school while it was filled with hundreds of Pakistani volunteers who had been left behind and may, or may not, have already surrendered, or been negotiating their surrender, at the time. The agreed summary of facts is "The school was hit by an airstrike. American Special Forces Sgt. Stephen E. Tomat was awarded a Silver Star for his action which killed many enemy forces. In a published and notable book on the battle, Tomat says he called in an airstrike against a school where hundreds of Pakistani volunteers had holed up." Those facts aren't really disputed, but one editor says that we are irresponsible to include the officer's name who called in the strike, and argues that it also borders on "speculation" since the book did not give the name of the school that he targeted. The opposing argument is that only one school was bombed in the city, only one mass of people were killed in the battle, only one airstrike was called in against a group of Taliban, and everything says "I called in an airstrike against the school where Taliban holed up" and "An American called in an airstrike against the school where Taliban holed up" can legitimately and fairly be assumed to be referencing the same bombing, not two separate incidents (since there is zero indication in any source that there were multiple incidents). Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 20:37, 23 May 2009 (UTC)


-At no point did I state that nobody fled the city. What I dispute is your (User:Sherurcij)claim that the Taliban ordered the withdrawl of the troops. Quite the opposite happened: "The Taliban disputed the claim and said they would be able to move 500 fresh fighters into the area despite US raids" [reference 18]. Also, "Press quoted an unidentified Taliban spokesman saying that troops defending the city had fought off two opposition attacks".[ref 14] November 09 2001 at 09:30AM it's reported that " Afghan forces braced for a bloody battle for control of Mazar-i-Sharif as US bombers battered a brigade of Islamic radicals fighting to keep the key northern city in Taliban hands.[ref 21] Doesn't sound like an "entire" withdrawl to me, much less a Taliban order to withdraw. His summary of 6,11 and 21 of claims of "withdrawl" are completely unsubstantiated. (User:Sherurcij) has confused the number of troops withdrawing from Mazar with the number of troops trapped in Konduz [ref 11]. No one disputes that Keshendeh-ye Bala, Keshendeh-ye Pa'in and Ag Kupruk fell although it's just mentioned in [ref 10 and 8]. While, [ref 14] mentions nothing on the subject.

-Unfortunatly this hasn't been the first incident where (User:Sherurcij) has ignored the references at hand and summarized with an obvious slant. Over the past few months, I've repeatedly attempted to show (with references) that the city itself did NOT sustain "intensive aerial bomardment" but, he continued to revert to that statement up until recently when he finally got it right and changed it to "around the city" on May 22. He also continued to imply that The bombing of the Mirwais Mina Hospital happened in Mazar not in Kandahar, which is over 578 km or 359 miles away. Not even close. He finally "allowed" the change on May 19. Almost 3 months after I submitted the first correction! These have been just a few examples.

-Now on to the issue of the officer and the school. Since it has been established that (User:Sherurcij) is inclined to cutting and pasting quotes from articles that he has taken out of context or simply ignoring the article altogether and summarizing them to his own liking, It is not that far fetched that he would also resort to making "assumptions".

The reason I continue to remove inclusion of the name of the American officer is not that I dispute his involvement. Rather, it's the light in which you (User:Sherurcij) paint the story as a whole. You fail to include cited sources from the very articles that you, yourself, have submitted. So, in the hopes that you would actually do some research, I removed the name until a version that wasn't POV was presented. Since, you were unwilling to accept the changes that I made 3 months ago. Which, BTW, were NPOV and were actually FROM the sources that YOU originally referenced. I recently resubmitted the article (May 23) only to have it reverted back to the skewed version. I find it quite odd that you are unwilling to permit, verifiable and sourced, changes to the article. Especially, in light of the fact that you, starting back in January, made such drastic changes to the original without consensus on talk page.

(User:Sherurcij) states that "In a published and notable book on the battle, Tomat says he called in an airstrike against a school where hundreds of Pakistani volunteers had holed up." The actual quote is: "Taliban and al Qaeda holed up in Mazar-e Sharif, the city itself. This time it was about nine hundred of them in the center of the city. They were holed up in a large building, formerly a school [a madrasa, a school for religious training.][ref 8].

(User:Sherurcij) goes on to say that the fighters "may, or may not, have already surrendered, or been negotiating their surrender, at the time." Well, the aforementioned notable book quotes the officer as saying, "They said they were not going to surrender...that they were going to fight to the death, and they proved that when they killed the peace envoy we sent them to ask them to lay down their arms"[ref 8]. "Scrawled on the walls (of the school)the words of their mullah: "Die for Pakistan" and "Never Surrender"[ref 27]. Also, "A senior Northern Alliance commander, Cmdr. Khaleqbai, gave one account of what happened here. He said he was galloping into town on the night of Nov. 9, when the Taliban in the school opened fire on his troop of 50 horsemen. He surrounded the school and told the men inside to give themselves up. We thought we were ready for negotiation, but they were not, he said. When he sent in two fighters with a group of elders the next day, to tell the Taliban to surrender, the Taliban shot and killed his two men"[ref 4]. "The Taliban were also responsible for some 15 civilian casualties in the surrounding streets as they fired out from the compound. A woman living a few blocks away from the school, Bibi Rukhia, 40, lost her husband when he was killed as he was passing it on the way to see his daughter."[ref 4].

-Now, when did I ever say (User:Sherurcij) was irresponsible to include the officer's name who called in the strike? Speculative, Yes, misleading and assumptive, Yes. The Taliban and al Qaeda "tried to hide, taking refuge in two buildings on opposite sides of the grand square that serves as the city's center. One was Sultan Razia, a girls' religious school. The other, ironically, was the mansion of a former rebel commander." (note, multiple buildings, large city) [reference 33] Another direct quote from the source referenced!

Now, that all the sources have been accurately summarized, are true and verifiable, let's move on to bigger and better things.

-Oh, I never "alleged that I was present". I said that I was present. I am the very person that is being referred to in the article.

Again, you are clear that only one school was bombed in the city - and it was the school against which you called the airstrike. Please also read over Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point, and do not keep vandalising the article and removing verified information "in the hopes that" I will see things your way. I am using only the published sources, all of which agree that you/Tomat called in the airstrike against SR. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 14:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Giving a third opinion, by request on WP:3o. There seems to be two main issues of dispute here, I'll try to pitch in on both.

1: I can't find any clear support for the following claim in the online sources given (I have not been able to check the print materials referenced): "The Taliban Defence Ministry gave an order to their fighters to withdraw from the city to avoid heavy casualties and further damage to the surrounding civilians". I see some mention of the 14000 troops in the Kunduz article, but it doesn't say anything about those troops having been withdrawn from Mazar-i-Sharif. Sherucij, could you give us the actual quotes from the sources that you think support your claim?

2: About including the name of the soldier. I'm not really sure if I understand your position here, User:FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyrany. You seem to be saying that you don't dispute the fact stated - that Tomat called in an airstrike on the school - but that you don't want your name to appear in the article because you don't like the general presentation of the events in the article? If that is the wrong understanding, please excuse me and explain how I'm misunderstanding. Otherwise, your position seems quite unjustified - although we should be cautious with biographical information about living people, you may not choose whether your name should appear depending on whether you like the article or not. Please be aware though that you can report the use of your name, see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. But also be aware that you have a clear conflict of interest regarding this article, and should not be making any controversial edits to it. In stead you can make requests to other editors if there are changes you would like to have made. --Anderssl (talk) 21:35, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, I went back to the articles I've cited for the withdrawal of troops - I find "However, by that time Taliban forces appeared to be pulling back, in something close to a rout, leaving behind their fatalities and large quantities of equipment. By nightfall, several thousand thousand Northern Alliance troops advance[d] across the Shomali plain...a small number of Pakistanis and Arabs who had failed to escape during the night were hunted down and killed" in footnote 14, indicating the mass exodus of Taliban troops (with the exception of the Pakistanis who were left behind in the confusion, per the article), and footnote 13 says "12,000 Afghan Taliban and 2,000 foreign fighters who have been trapped in Kunduz since the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif two weeks ago", seeming to indicate these are the same troops that fled MiS. Footnote 6 also supports this, reading "it appears the Taliban have fallen back and over the course of the day, we've seen numerous convoys coming out of that area," Rear Adm. Mark Fitzgerald said." (fixed the footnote url, it was broken). I also found this, stating "Correspondents say the Taliban withdrew in the face of a massive US air bombardment...A Taliban Defence Ministry official says his forces have pulled back to the east and south of the Mazar-e-Sharif." That gives us the fact thousands were pulled back, and the tenative number of 14,000 - though it's debateable, so I'm happy to scale back to "thousands". I'm not sure where the 5,000 number originated. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 22:20, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
All right, so to be precise, what the sources say is that an unknown number of taliban forces appear to have pulled back - no clear indication of how many (it doesn't even say there were thousands), or who gave the order. So I think the paragraph I mentioned should be rewritten to state only exactly what can be documented in the sources. Also, the following sentence in the lead doesn't seem to be supported in the reference given: "Media sources outside the United States were hesitant to label the fall of the city a military "victory" since there had been no clear battle, and the Taliban had simply withdrawn 90% of their forces to other cities in advance of the invading force." I can't find the number 90% in the article, and all mentions of 'victory' seem to contradict the central claim of the sentence. Unless some other source can be found, that supports the claims as they stand now. --Anderssl (talk) 23:22, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank-you for taking time for your 3rd opinon,Anderssl, I dont' mind if the name appears in the article. But, let's present the whole story. I have given ample references that debunk the claims and half-truths that Sherurcij continues to spew as verifiable fact. Fine, if he wants to continue on his blatant slant at least permit the other version of events as well(all of which are referenced). There-by making the article as a whole NPOV. I have documented them numerous times. Sherurcij is apt to making assumptions and stating things "seem(ing) to indicate" or that it"s "debateable" If it isn't backed up then don't speculate. Why even mention something if its debateable?--FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny (talk) 23:01, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Oh BTW, according to Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons "We must get the article right.[1] Be very firm about the use of high quality references. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.[2]"

My name will be removed until the article adheres to Wikipedia's neutrality policy, "fairly representing all majority and significant-minority viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in rough proportion to the prominence of each view."--FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny (talk) 01:38, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

You cannot hold information "hostage" until an article meets your personal standards. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 02:02, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
FFIT, the policy you are quoting is referring to biographical information about living persons, but your objections to this article doesn't seem to have anything to do with the part that mentions your alleged real-life identity. However, I agree with one point: We must be particularly careful to be accurate in the bio part. And the fact that FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny does not dispute the facts is not verification of their truth - after all, we can't be certain that FFIT is identical to Tomat just because he says so (Wikipedia accounts are by their nature anonymous). So the article shouldn't say more than the public sources do, namely that Tomat got the decoration for calling in an air strike against a school. If there is a natural inferral to be made about the fact that Tomat called in an airstrike on a school, and one school got bombed, I think we can trust the Wikipedia readers to make that inferral themselves... --Anderssl (talk) 17:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you Anderssl, I've tried to make the changes, removing the "ordered 5,000-14,000 troops to withdraw from the city" and simply saying the majority were withdrawn (all sources seem to speak of the 800 holed up in the school being "forgotten remnants from the withdrawal", implying the rest had left). I also removed "simply withdrawn 90% of their forces", and instead changed it to "had largely withdrawn". I hope this is better-suited. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 02:02, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for being willing to reconsider and revising! I see that you are willing to engage in a constructive debate, that is very nice - too many people in these disputes get 'locked' in their positions and refuse to budge an inch, so we never get anywhere. However I think there is still some improvement to do. When the facts are disputed I think we should be really careful with reflecting the sources accurately. I've cut some more stuff from the 'battle' section that I can't find support for in the sources - let me know if there is something I've overlooked or misunderstood. It's a pain to go over this many times, but hopefully it gets a little better for each time... --Anderssl (talk) 17:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Mixed review on your edits, the changes to my changes are fine -- but I take minor issue with removing " in pickup trucks and SUVs" as I think it helps illustrate how exactly they were moving about (not on camels, not in tanks) -- and changing "the school" to "a school" seems to be pandering to somebody who admits that it's the same school, but simply doesn't want WP to mention that detail. Only one school was bombed, the reports all say the same thing, even his Silver Star citation says it.

On 10 November 2001, Sergeant Tomat and the team entered the city of Mazar-e-Sharif to conduct a Direct Action mission on a hard-line enemy stronghold containing nine hundred enemy soldiers. They stated that they were unwilling to surrender and would fight to the death. Just 380 meters from the enemy position, while under direct small arms fire, Sergeant Tomat calmly highlighted the friendly location and called in close air support.

Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 17:31, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Sherurcih, the quote above does not mention a school. As far as I have been able to find, trying to sort through these arguments and the sources, the sources state only the following: A (former) school was bombed, and Tomat called in an airstrike against a school building. I haven't found anywhere that it explicitly says that the two schools were the same, or that there was only one school that was bombed. But it may well be that I have overlooked that information, there is a lot to sift through here... So please bring it forward if the sources say anything like this clearly and explicitly. Otherwise, I think we should just stick to exactly that which can be documented.
With the pickups and the SUVs, it's basically the same: If I overlooked that in the sources, please bring out the quote... --Anderssl (talk) 18:30, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
From Footnote 6 (the one cited for the fact), "the Taliban fled to the east and west of the city, many in pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles". And the two sources say "A school with 800 militants inside was bombed" and "Tomat called in the airstrike against a school with 800 militants inside". Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 18:37, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
So I stand corrected regarding the trucks, I have reinserted it (that source had a rotten link, which is why I hadn't seen it before). That source also puts the number of taliban in MiS between 1500 and 3000, so I have removed the troop numbers entirely, until better sources can be found. I also did some corrections in the lead. It seems, each time I look at one of these sources, there is a new discrepancy. Please be careful that the sources actually support the claims in the article, and please be careful to put the correct footnote next to the claim it is meant to be support, so it is easy to find the information.
As for the two sources about the school, which ones are you talking about? There are at least 10 sources regarding this in the article, and it takes for ever to go through all this stuff.
And something should be done about the use of pictures in this article, it messes up the article completely on my machine (Firefox on a Mac). It may help to put all the photos on the right-hand side. --Anderssl (talk) 20:31, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I moved all the photos to the right, it helped a little but the edit links are still messed up in my browser. Probably someone who knows the templates better should have a look at this. --Anderssl (talk) 20:44, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

question...[edit]

User:FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyrany let me be clear on this. Are you acknowledging that some of the contributions you made to this article are based on your personal knowledge -- not on third party sources? Were you an actual participant in the incident, or were nearby, or visited the site afterward.

If so I am afraid you will have to get used to the idea that your personal knowledge doesn't count. Some of the wikipedia's core policies address this. The wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought or origina research. In order to maintain its reputation for neutrality the wikipedia's goal is to prevent its contributors from slipping in their own opinions and experiences, and to only rely on information that can be verified.

If you continue to contribute to the wikipedia you will come across times when contributing to an article will require using references you suspect -- or even think you know -- are incorrect. In order to try to prevent endless back and forth debates the wikipedia does not aim for truth -- only verifiability.

Please bear this in mind.

I had to go through the talk page, revision by revision, to try to make sense of what had been discussed. I found that you made three large excisions of material you disagreed with: [1] [2] [3]. You simply aren't allowed to do this. Geo Swan (talk) 16:06, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

No, I am not basing my contributions to this article on my personal knowledge. They have all been checked and rechecked using the verifiable, third party, sources provided. UnlikeUser:Sherurcijwho continues to revert the article as a whole and rely on quotes that are not verifiable. I have not violated the basic tenants of the Wikipedia behavioral guidelines knowingly, and if I did make any excisions, it was purely accidental in my persuit to respond. Why is permittable for him to make drastic changes to the article that are POV when my NPOV updates are omitted?--FreedomFromIgnorance&Tyranny (talk) 17:21, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Non-NPOV edits[edit]

I'm reverting massive, non-npov edits by an anonymous user (ip 65.41.181.76), who in his/her edits removed well-sourced material critical of one side. However, parts of the massive edits also seem to be improvements of the article, which had significant problems from the start, so ideally someone should sift through the material and bring in those parts which were actual improvements, rewording to neutral pov where appropriate. I just don't have time to do that myself today... --Anderssl (talk) 17:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Different forms of the name of Mazar-i-Sharif[edit]

The article uses various forms of the name of the city, apparently at random. It varies between "Mazari Sharif", "Mazar-i-Sharif" and "Mazar-e-Sharif". It's slightly jarring. I'd suggest changing all of them to the form used by the Wikipedia page for this city, i.e. Mazar-i-Sharif. However this article itself is titled "Fall of Mazari Sharif". Should this article be renamed to "Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif" so that we can make it consistent with the form of the name used in the text and with the Wikipedia article on the city? Zinios (talk) 09:18, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

I did a general edit to correct the English throughout the article. I also changed all spellings of the name of the city to be consistent with the title of the article. I don't claim to know whether Mazari Sharif or Mazar-e-Sharif is a more correct transcription of the Afghani name, but the article should use either one or the other, while noting the alternative spelling. Of course there are several languges in use in Afghanistan, which makes the problem still more complicated. Wallace McDonald (talk) 03:27, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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