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November 13, 2001
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NA in control of Kabul; Taleban confirms fall

Muhammad Najeeb in Islamabad

Northern Alliance troops on Tuesday took control of Kabul amid scenes of chaos and looting, even as reports said that the militia's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had fled to Pakistan.

Mukhitdin Mekhti, a senior representative of the Northern Alliance's government, was quoted as saying that Mullah Omar had fled Afghanistan for Pakistan.

In a dramatic overnight advance, opposition units entered the Afghan capital after Taleban fighters fled towards their southern stronghold of Kandahar.

"Northern Alliance forces are also near Kandahar and have taken control of some strategic positions," a senior Taleban embassy official, who defected to the Alliance, told Indo-Asian News Service.

United States President George W Bush had urged the Northern Alliance not to enter Kabul until an agreement was in place for a broad-based government representing all ethnic groups in the country.

The militia, according to another Taleban official, did not offer any resistance and vacated Kabul to avoid bloodshed, as "we don't want any further bloodshed in the Afghan nation".

The official, however, said, "The leadership vacuum created by the retreat of the Taleban forces could lead to anarchy."

He said that the Taleban, with the help of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network, would wage a guerrilla campaign from the Afghan mountains.

Reports said that as they retreated, the Taleban took with them eight foreign aid workers -- four German, two Australian and two Americans -- accused of spreading Christianity in Afghanistan.

Ironically, television pictures of the entry of the Northern Alliance forces into Kabul could not be transmitted as the Kabul office of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television took a direct hit from a US bomb overnight. The building was destroyed, but the staff managed to leave the building.

"The atmosphere along the road into Kabul was festive, with cheers and shouts of death to Mullah Omar," the embassy official said.

Looting soon broke out in Kabul and some Arab volunteers serving with the Taleban were summarily shot. Some foreign journalists were also attacked and their luggage and equipment commandeered, the official said.

"There is a vacuum of authority in the city after the Taleban withdrew and until now the Northern Alliance has not announced their government," the official said.

Music was heard on the radio soon after the takeover. The Taleban had banned the playing of music on radio since they took control of Kabul in 1996.

The official said that Northern Alliance Defence Minister General Mohammad Fahim and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah also made announcements on the radio that the people could celebrate the victory. "Afghanistan is free of polluters now," Abdullah was quoted as saying.

The ministers did not claim of establishing any government in Afghanistan, the official said, adding, "probably they have been stopped from doing so by the Americans."

Indo-Asian News Service and Agencies

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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