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November 21, 2001
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Northern Alliance troops set to enter Kunduz

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Forces of the Northern Alliance appeared poised for a major offensive against troops of the Taleban militia holed up in the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz after serving an ultimatum to them to surrender by Thursday morning or face the 'consequences'.

The ultimatum was given by Gen Nazir Mahmad in Khanabad, about 20 km east of Kunduz, where US warplanes kept up their pounding.

Nearly 30,000 Taleban soldiers, including Pakistanis, Chechens and Arabs, are holed up in Kunduz.

An ominous note was sounded by Pakistan's Islamic fundamentalists who warned of a 'strong reaction' if its citizens were massacred in Kunduz.

The pro-Taleban Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam party said about 10,000 Pakistanis had gone to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taleban militiamen.

The Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's main fundamentalist party, said it would hold the government responsible for the killing of Pakistanis in Kunduz.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered Taleban vowed to defend its southern stronghold of Kandahar and claimed that 'three or four provinces' were still under its control.

Earlier, rival Afghan factions, including the Northern Alliance, which now controls most part of the country, took the first step towards forging a representative post-Taleban government by agreeing to multi-party talks in the German capital Berlin next week.

In Rome, exiled King Mohammad Zahir Shah agreed to send a delegation for the talks likely to be attended by representatives of the exiled Afghan community in Pakistan.

There were also indications that a couple of women may be part of Shah's delegation.

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
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External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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