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Anti-Taleban Afghan Tribals Attack Bin Laden Suspected Hide-Out - 2001-12-05


Afghanistan's anti-Taleban tribesmen, backed by U-S bombers, apparently have attacked Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida fighters at the Tora Bora cave and tunnel complex in a southeastern part of the country.

A local commander (Hazrat Ali) told reporters (by satellite telephone) that his forces have captured part of the cave complex - a suspected hide-out of the accused terrorist leader.

Witnesses said thick smoke was seen rising from several areas of Tora Bora early today (Wednesday) after U-S warplanes passed over the region. U-S warplanes have been carrying out heavy bombing raids against the cave complex over the past few days.

The Washington Post newspaper says at least 10 senior al-Qaida members were killed during U-S airstrikes at Tora Bora on Monday.

In southern Afghanistan, anti-Taleban forces are massing around the city of Kandahar - the last remaining Taleban stronghold. U-S defense officials said Tuesday that U-S Marines are moving to cut off possible Taleban and al-Qaida escape routes from Kandahar into Pakistan.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that Afghan tribal forces are likely to attack Kandahar if the Taleban refuses to surrender. He said U-S Marines have no plans to attack the city.

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