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Afghan Northern Alliance Consolidates Control as Taleban Retreats - 2001-11-14


Afghanistan's Northern Alliance is continuing to consolidate its battle-field gains in northern and central regions of the country as the Taleban retreats to its southern stronghold of Kandahar.

The Alliance is reported to have gained control of the key central province of Uruzgan, which borders Kandahar, and Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (news agency) says the Taleban pulled out of Uruzgan without a fight.

The report says the Taleban is still in control of two eastern provinces (Nagarhar and Kunar) along the Pakistani border. It was not immediately clear whether the anti-Taleban alliance has gained control of the key border city of Jalalabad.

U-S warplanes are reported to have bombed military installations in and around Jalalabad overnight and again this (Wednesday) morning.

Elsewhere, U-S planes have reportedly been targeting Taleban forces retreating in disarray toward Kandahar.

Meanwhile, ousted Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani says he plans to return to Kabul today (Wednesday). The head of the Northern Alliance was driven from the capital by the Taleban in 1996.

The Alliance says it has moved several thousand troops into Kabul to maintain order. Opposition forces began entering the city after it was deserted late Monday by the Taleban.

Alliance officials say their troops are also moving towards the Taleban stronghold of Kandahar.

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