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November 13, 2001
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Taleban officials leave embassy in Pakistan

Senior Taleban officials at the Afghan embassy in Islamabad were on Tuesday seen getting into their vehicles and leaving, SADA reported.

At least three vehicles, one of them carrying four officials, left the embassy premises for a destination unknown to approximately 80 journalists gathered outside. Most of the scribes were waiting for a visa for Afghanistan.

Journalists who tried to question the officials were rebuffed. "There is no question of being issued visas," an official said, adding that those who had submitted their passports could collect them from the visa section, which was empty at the time of filing this report.

Asked whether Pakistan had asked the embassy staff to leave, an official answered in the negative.

The officials' departure came hours after a Taleban representative told SADA that the militia had withdrawn from its positions inside Afghanistan, including capital Kabul, and were scattering themselves in small groups in all the provinces to get ready for the "real" phase of "jihad", as per supreme commander Mullah Mohammed Omar's instructions.

Confirming the closure of the embassy, government sources told SADA that consulates in Peshawar and Quetta were also being shut down.

Sources said Afghan diplomats had not yet been asked to leave the country, but there was a probability that they would be told to do so.

Last week, Islamabad had shut down the Taleban consulate in Karachi.

Indo-Asian News Service

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