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Taleban Threatens Anyone Supporting Former King - 2001-10-05


Afghanistan's ruling Taleban is threatening to expel anyone who supports the return of former Afghan king Mohammad Zahir Shah.

Kabul radio says Taleban officials issued the threat Thursday at a meeting of in the eastern province of Khost. The radio also said supporters of the exiled king would have their houses burned down.

Former King Zahir Shah and the Afghan opposition agreed earlier this week to work together to set up a post-Taliban transition government in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a commander of opposition forces inside Afghanistan has told the French Press Agency that civilians in two western provinces are rising up against the Taleban. Commander Ismail Khan tells A-F-P that Ghor and Badghis provinces could slip from Taleban control within a week. The claim has not been independently confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post newspaper reports that the Taleban has built two lines of defense north of Kabul in preparation for a possible U-S attack.

Citing defectors and opposition spies, the newspaper says the lines include trenches and bomb shelters. The report says the Taleban has been replenishing its troops by forcibly sending young men to the front lines. As many as 66-hundred armed fighters are said to have already been gathered to defend the capital.

An officer with the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance is quoted as saying the Taleban has improved the organization of its defenses after a recent period of disarray.

Heavy fighting was reported Wednesday between the Taleban and the Northern Alliance in central Afghanistan. The opposition says it has advanced about 15 kilometers in Ghor, a mountainous province west of Kabul.

There was no independent confirmation of the battlefield claim.

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