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November 6, 2001
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Taleban deny surrender of Kandahar

The Taleban officially denied on Saturday that their supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had quit his southern stronghold of Kandahar and gone into the mountains with his troops.

"It is wrong that we have surrendered [the city] or have the intention to do so to Bashar and Naqeebullah," foreign ministry spokesman Maulvi Najibullah told reporters at Spin Boldak, a town near the Pakistan border.

The Afghan Islamic Press had reported on Friday that Mullah Omar had ordered his troops to pull out of Kandahar and hand over charge to local Pushtoon commanders Mullah Naqeebullah and Haji Bashar.

But Agence France-Presse quoted eyewitnesses as saying that some Taleban forces were seen leaving Kandahar on Saturday, though there was no sign of a mass evacuation.

Babrak Ali, a resident of Qalat-i-Ghilzai town 150km northeast of Kandahar , told the agency that a small column of vehicles left the city and headed northwest towards Herat. There were no accounts of clashes between them and the anti-Taleban forces surrounding Kandahar, he added.

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
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