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November 26, 2001
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Taleban panic as Kandahar airport
falls: Witnesses

Panic was evident among the Taleban in their Kandahar headquarters on Monday, as the forces of two ethnic Pashtoon commanders captured the city's airport and United States marines landed for a final assault, SADA news agency quoted eyewitness as saying.

"Civilians are worried as the Taleban's vehicles are seen moving all over the city from one destination to another. They seem to be in a big panic," said Habibullah Khushmand, who owns a medical store at Kandahar's Chaharsu market.

A gas station owner on Jada Road said that over 20 vehicles, loaded with weapons and ammunition, moved towards the airport area after tanking up at his bunk.

He said there had been reports of fierce fighting from the outskirts of the city and a driver, who had passed through the area, had heard gunshots and rocket fire in the vicinity of the airport.

Taleban commanders had apparently moved large numbers of troops to the southeast of the city in an attempt to stop the forces of former Kandahar governor Haji Gul Agha and Pashtoon commander Fida Adozai.

Agha and Adozai achieved a breakthrough early on Monday, as they advanced from their previously held positions in the Takhtapul area towards the Kandahar airport, sources said.

The two commanders moved their forces close to the border with Pakistan on receiving a green signal from the Americans, sources said, adding the airport was captured before dawn.

Several helicopters landed soon after and over 1,000 US commandos had taken positions around the airport, sources said.

"The fall of Kandahar is now a matter of 24 hours. It will not take days (as had been thought earlier), as several Pashtoon elders have already made inroads in Taleban ranks and have got them to agree to leave Kandahar and the remaining provinces without a bloodbath," said a lieutenant of Haji Gul Agha.

He said the Afghan elders were continuing negotiations with the Taleban forces who were still holding out to peacefully vacate the areas they were occupying.

Once the militia was ousted, he said, the Uruzgan and Zabul provinces would be made the responsibility of former deputy foreign minister Hamid Karzai while the area between Spin Boldak and Kandahar would be taken over by Khaliq Murzai or Haji Nasruddin, both Afghan commanders.

Indo-Asian News Service

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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