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Afghan Opposition: Thousands of Taleban Fighters Defecting to Alliance - 2001-10-13


Opposition Northern Alliance leaders in northern Afghanistan say thousands of Taleban fighters are switching sides.

Opposition Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said seven days of U-S -led air attacks against Taleban positions have severely disrupted the Taleban's ability to coordinate military attacks. Mr. Abdullah says the Taleban has not launched a counter-offensive against the opposition United Front in over a week.

Opposition military commanders told reporters Saturday thousands of Taleban troops have defected since the air raids began last Sunday. Reports of defections have not been independently confirmed.

But opposition leaders say if the reports are true, the mass defections are a clear indication that the air strikes are breaking down Taleban morale. A militia commander near the Tajik border told V-O-A that Taleban leaders fired rockets at their own men Saturday (this) morning in an attempt to kill them to keep them from joining opposition groups in nearby Kundug.

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