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Taleban Flee Kandahar But Renege on Promise to Hand Over Weapons - 2001-12-07


U.S. warplanes have resumed strikes around Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar as Taleban fighters flee their stronghold. But Afghanistan's newly chosen leader -- Hamid Karzai -- says a number of Taleban fighters have reneged on a promise to hand over their weapons to a local tribal leader before leaving the city -- one of the conditions of a surrender.

Pentagon officials say the fleeing Taleban soldiers were engaged on the ground and from the air. But they say they can not confirm if Mullah Omar is still in Kandahar or not.

Central Command Chief Tommy Franks told reporters the situation in Kandahar is similar to the one that existed when other cities fell such as Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz.

Mr. Karzai said he gave the mullah every chance to denounce terrorism as part of a surrender agreement, but he has not and is now a fugitive who must be brought to justice.

The United States has said it will not accept any deal that allows Mullah Omar to go free. Britain and France also said Friday there should be no amnesty for terrorists. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it is up to the United States to bring him to justice.

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