Within the past twenty-four hours the government troops of Afghanistan considerably strengthened their positions in the northern provinces. As RIA Novosti was told on Tuesday by an official spokesman for the military leadership of Afghanistan, the troops of General Dustum in the northern province of Balkh, which borders on Uzbekistan, closely approached the province's centre of Mazar-i-Sharif and now hold the positions some five-six kilometres from the town and its aerodrome. The Northern Alliance's stake on the low casualty tactics in the northern and central provinces of Afghanistan is fully justifying itself. Within the past week the troops of the United Front have captured, practically without battles, the province of Ghor in central Afghanistan and several district and provincial centres in neighbouring provinces. For instance, the troops of field commander Ismail Khan closely approached the town of Shindand in the western province of Herat where a big military aerodrome is situated. At the same time the United Front is concentrating its troops in the area of Kabul. The advanced units of the government troops are located some twenty kilometres from the capital of the country.