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Northern Alliance Troops Begin Entering Kunduz - 2001-11-25


Northern Alliance officials say their troops are entering the city of Kunduz, the Taleban's last major stronghold in northern Afghanistan.

Reports from the city say hundreds of Taleban fighters are surrendering as Northern Alliance forces approach from the east and the west. Northern Alliance forces -- backed by U-S special forces -- have besieged Kunduz for almost two weeks. The city had been defended by an unknown number of Taleban and foreign fighters, some loyal to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah says a pocket of resistance remains but that alliance forces are in control of about 75 percent of the city. The alliance claims have not been independently verified.

In southern Afghanistan, leaders of tribes fighting the Taleban say their forces have cut the main road between Kandahar and the town of Spin Boldak on the Pakistani border. In Pakistan on Sunday, Pashtun tribal chiefs urged the Taleban to surrender Kandahar.

Meanwhile, the New York Times newspaper says Osama bin Laden was seen this past week in a heavily-fortified encampment in eastern Afghanistan. It quotes a minister in a newly-formed provincial government as saying the al-Qaida leader was spotted near Tora Bora -- a village deep in the mountainous forests of Nangarhar province.

The minister, Hazarat Ali, says about two thousand foreign fighters armed with rifles, machine guns and surface-to-surface missiles were protecting the fugitive. Mr. Ali's claims have not been independently verified.

The United States is offering a 25-million dollar reward for the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden -- who is accused of planning the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States.

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