Sunday, November 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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250 Taliban soldiers taken prisoner


Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Khoja Bahawuddin, a stronghold of Northern Alliance, on Saturday.
 

Kabul, November 10
Afghanistanís opposition forces today said they had captured northern Samangan province bordering Tajikistan after the Taliban militia withdrew almost without a fight.

Mohammad Ashraf Nadeem, spokesman for the Northern Alliance commander Atta Mohammad, said resistance troops were chasing the Taliban into Baghlan province to the southeast.

Samanganís fall, if confirmed and sustained, would be the second damaging setback for the Taliban in 24 hours after the loss last night of the strategic northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province.

The Taliban withdrew from Mazar-e-Sharif ahead of the oppositionís main spearheads and reportedly set up new defence lines at Aqcha, 70 km west of the city.

Within hours of the capture of Mazar-e-Sharif, US jets resumed their punishing bombardment of front lines near Kabul, witnesses said in a report from Bagram.A report from Islamabad said around 250 Taliban soldiers were taken prisoner and others killed during the capture of Mazar-e-Sharif.

US attacks on a Taliban front line in northeastern Afghanistan had left so many troops dead that the bodies had been left to rot where they fell.

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon on Saturday declared that a US sailor had become the fourth US military fatality of the Afghanistan campaign, three days after he fell from the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the northern Indian Ocean. Agencies
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USA keen to capture Kabul before winter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
After the fall of highly strategic town of Mazar-e-Sharif, the top priority of American strategists in Afghanistan is to capture the capital city of Kabul before winter sets in, diplomatic observers here said today.

The capture of Kabul is foremost on the minds of the American strategists to avert mass starvation deaths, which Washington would surely like to avoid. United Nations relief agencies have already warned that a human catastrophe could well be round the corner when the onset of winter would cut off millions of Afghanistanis from whatever little food aid they are getting now.

Besides, the fall of Kabul would also send across powerful symbols as it would effectively break the will of the people as well as pro-Taliban forces. Besides, the Afghanistanis, particularly the Pashtoons, are famous for shifting their loyalties to the winning side.

The fall of Mazar-e-Sharif has already opened a window for the UN and American relief supplies to reach a large population through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Mazar-e-Sharifís strategic importance can be gauged by the fact that this town serves as a key connection between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The fall of Mazar-e-Sharif and the anticipated eventual fall of Kabul would leave the Taliban with only two strongholds: Herat and Kandahar. Kabulís fall would make the Talibanís military isolation complete as Herat and Kandahar are geographically well apart. Back

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