The New York Times reports President Bush has approved a covert operation to support groups opposing the Taleban rulers of Afghanistan. The paper says the support would go to the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taleban groups.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer would not comment on the report. He told reporters at a news conference Monday the United States would not get into the business of who rules of Afghanistan.
But, Mr. Fleischer said the United States would, in his words, assist those who are seeking a peaceful and economically developed Afghanistan that does not engage in terrorism. He said help could come in many forms, including diplomatic, military and financial.
In Afghanistan, meanwhile, Taleban forces and the Northern Alliance engaged in heavy artillery duels today (Monday). The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press says the Taleban recaptured a key area of western Afghanistan it lost to opposition forces over the weekend. There was no independent confirmation the Taleban took back Qadis district.
Separately, The New York Times reports that Mr. Bush has approved $100 million in relief aid to Afghan refugees. The White House says it remains concerned about the humanitarian plight of the Afghan people, adding it is likely there will be additional humanitarian aid to parts of Afghanistan.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.