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December 11, 2001
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Al Qaeda men in Tora Bora seek truce

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Al Qaeda fighters in eastern Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountainous area on Tuesday sought a truce with Northern Alliance troops after facing setbacks while trying to flee the area in the face of relentless bombing by United States jets.

However, the whereabouts of Saudi extremist and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains unknown.

The anti-Taliban tribal militia besieging them declared a cease-fire to discuss terms for their surrender, reports from the frontline said even as United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi held talks in Kabul with Afghan leaders to sort out difficulties surrounding the upcoming transfer of power to a new interim government.

The anti-Taliban commander leading the battle at Tora Bora Mohammad Zaman said that Al Qaeda fighters, mostly foreigners, have agreed to hand over their weapons at 0800 hours (local time) on Wednesday.

The move by Al Qaeda fighters to surrender, yet to be confirmed independently, came after they were reportedly flushed out of many of their hideouts in the mountains.

It was unclear whether all Al Qaeda fighters were willing to lay down arms as there were reports of some disagreement among them on the issue.

Anti-Taliban forces were reported to have cut off an escape route to neighbouring Pakistan, which has deployed extra troops on the borders to prevent Al Qaeda men from entering the country.

The US and Northern Alliance believe that Saudi extremist and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden may be hiding in the caves in the mountains in the Tora Bora area.

US jets have been bombarding the area for days now while Alliance troops have been engaging Al Qaeda men on the ground.

PTI

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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