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Fate of Afghan Opposition Commander Masood - 2001-09-11


The fate of Afghan opposition leader Ahmed Shah Masood remains unclear amid conflicting reports about whether he survived an assassination attempt Sunday.

Media reports quote members of Afghanistan's opposition as saying Commander Masood was wounded in the attack, but is alive. However, some reports quote other sources as saying he is dead.

Mr. Masood's brother, Ahmed Wali Masood, insists his brother is recovering from serious wounds in a hospital in a neighboring country after remaining unconscious for more than 10 hours.

Commander Masood has been the leader of Afghanistan's beleaguered opposition forces battling the ruling Taleban militia. Observers say his death could have a major impact on developments in the country.

Two attackers posing as journalists exploded a bomb hidden in a videocamera while interviewing Mr. Masood. The assassins and an opposition interpreter were killed. Mr. Masood's alliance has accused the Taleban of the attack but the Taleban is denying the charge. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's ruling Taleban has intensified its military campaign against opposition strongholds in the north. The Afghan Islamic Press quotes Taleban officials as saying troops supported by fighter jets made advances. Opposition leaders deny the claim.

Over the past several days, Taleban troops have been trying to capture various pockets of resistance from the loose alliance of opposition groups.

Several attempts by the United Nations to broker a peace in Afghanistan have failed.

The Taleban captured Kabul in 1996 and now control most of the country.

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