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Northern Alliance Troops Reported in Kunduz - 2001-11-25


Leaders of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance say their forces have begun entering the Taleban stronghold city of Kunduz, as some Taleban troops retreat through the city and others surrender.

Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah told C-B-S television today (Sunday) that U-S-backed alliance forces were in control of about 75 percent of the northern city.

Mr. Abdullah reported a pocket of resistance in the city late today from foreign fighters aligned with the Taleban. Alliance claims have not been independently confirmed.

By nightfall Sunday, the forces of one alliance leader, ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, were reported three kilometers from the city limits. But General Dostum apparently halted his western advance, clearing the way for forces of ethnic Tajik commander Mohammad Daoud to enter the city from the east.

Northern Alliance forces -- backed by U-S special forces -- have besieged Kunduz for almost two weeks. Several thousand Taleban fighters have surrendered since then.

The city had been defended by an unknown number of Taleban and foreign fighters, some loyal to Osama bin Laden's terrorist al-Qaida network.

The fall of Kunduz would be a major blow to the Taleban, which then would control only one remaining Afghan city -- Kandahar. That southern city is the movement's home base.

Earlier reports suggested that many foreign Taleban and al-Qaida fighters -- including Arabs, Chechens and Pakistanis -- were unwilling to surrender because they feared for their lives.

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