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U-S Intensifies Bombing in Eastern Afghanistan - 2001-12-09


U-S warplanes have intensified bombing raids in eastern Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden is believed hiding, while in the south tribal leaders have agreed on a deal to share control of Kandahar.

America's top military officer, Air Force General Richard Myers, says U-S-led forces are making moderate progress in their hunt for Osama bin Laden in eastern mountain caves called Tora Bora. Afghan tribal leaders say they are certain the terrorist leader is hiding in that area close to the Pakistan border.

Meanwhile, Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's new interim leader, has brokered a deal between tribal leaders jostling for control the surrendered Taleban city of Kandahar. Under the agreement, Kandahar's pre-Taleban governor, Gul Agha, will resume his position. He will be assisted by Mullah Naqibullah -- the man to whom the Taleban surrendered on Friday.

Reports say the Taleban has also surrendered Zabul, the last province under its control to tribal elders in the area that borders Kandahar.

In the capital, Kabul, a United Nations advance team is planning the deployment of a multi-national security force to maintain peace. The Northern Alliance and three other Afghan factions agreed to the force in talks last week on the formation of an interim post-Taleban government.

In related developments, a group of former Taleban officials said they are leaving the movement to revive an Afghan political party formed in the 1960's to combat Western influence in their homeland. The officials, who have been living in Pakistan, have declared their support for the U-N-sponsored peace process.

It remains unclear whether Afghanistan's new interim government will recognize their party, once known as the Association of the Servants of Koran (Khudamul Furqan Jamiat).

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