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Associates Say Masood Alive - 2001-09-14


Close associates of the leader of Afghanistan's anti-Taleban forces, Ahmed Shah Masood, are denying reports he is dead.

Masood associates say the opposition military leader is critical condition from wounds suffered in a suicide bombing Sunday, but say he is still alive.

Reports earlier Friday from Pakistan and Iran said Mr. Masood died from his wounds. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine also made this announcement in Paris.

He was severely injured when two Arabs posing as journalists set off a bomb hidden in a video camera. Thursday, the opposition Northern Alliance named General Mohammad Fahim as Mr. Masood's temporary replacement.

Also Thursday, General Fahim met with diplomats from countries that support the Northern Alliance's fight against the Taleban -- Russia, India, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The meeting took place in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

Anti-Taleban forces control only about five percent of Afghan territory, mostly in the north.

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