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Taleban Says Leader Not Injured in U-S Bombing - 2001-11-28


Afghanistan's Taleban militia says its top leader was not injured in the U-S bombing of a compound near the southern city of Kandahar late Tuesday.

The Taleban's former ambassador to Pakistan (Abdul Salam Zaeef) told the Afghan Islamic Press (news agency) that Mullah Mohammad Omar was not inside the compound when it was attacked and that he is safe.

The Taleban official also said the compound was not used by leaders of either the Taleban or the al-Qaida terrorist network, as suggested by U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld said intelligence reports indicated significant "leadership activity" was taking place at the compound at the time of the airstrike.

The Taleban official also said his group does not know the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, more U-S Marines have arrived at their forward base near Kandahar. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says the Marines' goal is to prevent Osama bin Laden, his al-Qaida operatives and Taleban protectors from moving about freely.

The situation in Kandahar remains confusing, with a large number of non-Afghan Taleban trying to leave the region. U-S forces are trying to put pressure on the city through non-Taleban Pashtun fighters.

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