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Pakistani Intelligence Chief to Meet Afghan Rulers - 2001-09-28


In a last ditch effort to break a deadlock over accused terrorist Osama bin Laden, Pakistani intelligence chief General Mehmood Ahmed and several religious leaders have traveled to Afghanistan to hold talks with the ruling Taleban.

The group is to return to Pakistan later today (Friday) after meeting senior Taleban officials in the southern (Afghan) city of Kandahar.

News reports say the delegation may meet with the Taleban's reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The visit comes one day after the Taleban delivered a message to Mr. bin Laden telling him to leave the country voluntarily. It was the first indication from the Taleban leaders that they knew where Mr. bin Laden was hiding.

Washington has threatened military action against the Taleban for sheltering Osama bin Laden, who is the prime suspect in the terrorist attacks in the United States earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, activists from a Pakistani Sunni Muslim party (Sipah-e-Sahaba) held a noisy rally outside a mosque after Friday prayers, to show support for the Taleban. Activists vowed to join a "holy war" if the United States attacks Afghanistan.

Pakistan is the only country that still has ties to Afghanistan's Taleban rulers.

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