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Jalalabad Falls, While Kandahar Situation Unclear - 2001-11-14


U-S and Afghan sources say that anti-Taleban forces have taken control of the eastern city of Jalalabad.

The Afghan Islamic Press reports that a local opposition group led by Mullah Yunus Kahlis took the city today (Wednesday) after heavy bombing overnight by U-S warplanes. It is not clear if the group is allied with the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance, which has captured Kabul and most of northern Afghanistan in fighting since last Friday.

There are conflicting reports on the status of Kandahar, where local fighters, including ethnic Pashtuns, have been battling Taleban troops for control of the airport.

Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has told Iranian television the Taleban has lost control of the city. But reports from Kandahar indicate the Taleban is setting up defensive positions at the city's edges.

Kandahar has long been considered a Taleban stronghold. Today (Wednesday), Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television broadcast pictures from Kandahar showing turbaned Taleban supporters vowing to keep the city from falling.

Several more Afghan provinces are reported to have fallen from Taleban control, though the reports could not be independently confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Taleban says its leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama bin Laden are alive and well and still in Afghanistan. A spokesman for the militia also says the Taleban will not hand over Mr. Bin Laden to the United States.

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