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November 17, 2001
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UN rejects Taleban request to negotiate surrender in Kunduz

The Taleban sought the intervention of the United Nations to negotiate the surrender of over 20,000 fighters, mostly Arabs and Pakistanis, surrounded by Northern Alliance forces in the militia's only remaining northern province of Kunduz, but the world body turned it down.

Some Taleban diplomats approached UN officials for the purpose, but they expressed inability to help, saying they were not equipped to negotiate a surrender as they had no presence in Afghanistan.

"We do not have the set-up to deal with this," a UN official was quoted as saying by the Pakistani daily, Statesman.

UN officials were unavailable to comment on the report. A large number of Taleban fighters are reportedly holed up in Kunduz. The Northern Alliance has called for their surrender, but the Taleban fighters have refused to lay down arms, the report said.

Meanwhile, the UN team led by its deputy special envoy to Afghanistan, Francesco Vendrell, which was scheduled to go to Kabul on Friday put off its visit citing security reasons.

Vendrell was on a mission to expedite the process of formation of an interim government as well as deployment of a multinational force in Afghanistan.

PTI

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