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Taleban Set to Surrender Kandahar, Bin Laden Keeps Fighting - 2001-12-06


Taleban troops are preparing to surrender the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, their last stronghold, but it's not clear what will happen to Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mullah Omar decided to surrender the city to a tribal elder (Mullah Naqibullah), and the handover will begin today (Friday).

The man designated to head Afghanistan's interim government, Hamid Karzai, says he's willing to offer amnesty to what he called "common Taleban." Mr. Karzai said Mullah Omar would have to condemn terrorism, but did not specify what would happen to him.

Mr. Karzai described as "criminals" foreign fighters and said they would face justice for bringing ruin to the Afghan people. He was referring to the Arabs, Pakistanis, Chechens and other Muslims who've been fighting alongside the Taleban and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.

Osama bin Laden and thousands of other al-Qaida members are believed to be hiding out in the Tora Bora cave complex in eastern Afghanistan -- which remains under attack from U-S warplanes and Afghan tribal forces.

A local commander (Hazrat Ali) told Reuters news agency his forces have killed 22 foreign al-Qaida fighters and captured some cave-riddled hills

The Afghan Islamic Press says tribal forces are also fanning out in nearby forests (in the Melwa district) as U-S warplanes continue to bomb the region along the Pakistan border.

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