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Kandahar Said To Have Fallen; Hunt For Bin Laden Is On
Yahoo News ^ | 11/14/2001 | Daily News

Posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:33 PM PST by usconservative

Wednesday November 14 11:59 AM ET

Kandahar Said to Have Fallen; Hunt for Bin Laden Is On


By Sayed Salahuddin and Arshad Mohammed

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Anti-Taliban forces claimed further dramatic victories Wednesday with the hard-line Afghan Islamists' final stronghold of Kandahar reported to have fallen as Washington prepared for a ``needle in a haystack'' hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who on Tuesday revealed that U.S. Special Forces were already operating in southern Afghanistan, said finding those responsible for September's mass killings on U.S. soil remained a difficult task despite Taliban losses.

The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance ambassador in neighboring Tajikistan said Kandahar, the Taliban's power center, had fallen to the opposition and tribal rebels.

``Today the forces of the Northern Alliance entered Kandahar,'' ambassador Said Ibrahim Hikmat said.

Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah earlier told Iran's state television: ``There is complete chaos in Kandahar. It's absolute confusion. The Taliban have lost control of the situation and no Taliban officials are to be found.''

The claims could not be independently verified but, if true, they would represent an enormous setback for the Taliban and the al Qaeda network of their guest bin Laden, blamed by Washington for the Sept. 11 attacks with hijacked airliners that killed more than 4,500 people in New York and Washington.

They followed the Northern Alliance's seizure of the capital Kabul and the domino-like fall or defection of towns and provinces that reduced the Taliban's control from 90 percent of the country to 20 percent in just five days.

International diplomats, outpaced by opposition victories in the field, galloped to keep up with the military advances as they sought to set up a broad-based government able to satisfy Afghanistan's neighbors and avoid an ethnic bloodbath.

In Kabul, the Northern Alliance, has refrained so far from the orgy of reprisal killings and bloody power battles among its disparate factions that accompanied its last takeover in the early 1990s.

But military analysts expected the Taliban, aided by al Qaeda, to take to Afghanistan's impenetrable mountains in a guerrilla war reminiscent of the hit-and-run campaigns that drove the occupying Soviet army from the country in 1989.

On day 39 of the U.S. bombing campaign to punish the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden, Rumsfeld said, ``It is, needless to say, gratifying to see the Taliban fleeing and the people of Afghanistan getting their country back.

``On the other hand, our task is to find the al Qaeda and the Taliban leadership and we still have that ahead of us. So, we have to be purposeful about that and recognize that it continues to be a difficult task.

``Finding handfuls of people is indeed like finding needles in a haystack and it's a complicated process.''

CHANCES OF CATCHING BIN LADEN BOOSTED -- EXPERTS

Experts on Afghanistan said the Taliban's collapse boosted U.S. prospects for hunting down Laden. ``The chances of him being betrayed, sold out or whatever are extremely high,'' Afghanistan expert Ahmed Rashid told Reuters from the Pakistani city of Lahore. ``There is tremendous ferment across the south now,'' said Rashid, a Pakistani journalist who has covered Afghanistan for 20 years and whose book on the Taliban has topped bestseller lists around the world for weeks.

``People are turning against the Taliban and there have been defectors from the Taliban who can be interviewed for a mine of information and intelligence on where bin Laden is.''

In other battlefield developments, an anti-Taliban group seized control of the eastern city of Jalalabad, an area which housed al Qaeda training camps, Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said.

Four northeastern provinces also slipped from Taliban hands after local uprisings, officials and tribal leaders said.

``Now the Taliban have less than 20 percent of the territory of Afghanistan,'' opposition Northern Alliance Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni told Reuters.

World leaders were trying to assemble a multinational peacekeeping force and plans for a transitional government for a country racked by civil war since the former Soviet Union invaded on Christmas Day, 1979, to back communist rule in the Muslim country.

British troops could be sent to Afghanistan within days to maintain security as part of a stability force, said rime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush's staunchest ally in his war on terrorism.

``The main purpose of these troops would be in the context of multinational efforts to make safe the humanitarian supply routes now opening up as a result of military progress,'' Blair said.

Diplomats were converging on Afghanistan's southern neighbor, Pakistan, to hammer out post-Taliban rule.

U.N. envoy to Afghanistan Fransesc Vendrell was in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, waiting to go to Kabul to meet Northern Alliance leaders as soon as U.N. security officials give him clearance that it is safe.

He is expected to push a U.N. plan envisaging a two-year interim government bringing all ethnic groups under one umbrella with a multinational security force to protect them.

U.S. ENVOY SEEKS POST-TALIBAN GOVERNMENT

James Dobbins, the U.S. envoy to the Northern Alliance, was due in the Pakistani capital after talks in Rome with exiled King Zahir Shah, a potential figurehead in an interim government.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari was also in Islamabad meeting Pakistan officials on Afghanistan's future -- a subject of previous disagreement because they had backed opposite sides in the civil war. That changed when Pakistan stopped supporting the Taliban after the September attacks.

The United Nations dispatched the first shipment of aid on Wednesday to northern Afghanistan from ex-Soviet Uzbekistan, officials said.

Aid agencies warn of a humanitarian disaster in the making with harsh winter looming and 3.4 million people, half the population of northern Afghanistan, depending on aid to survive.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said three of its expatriate staff had reached Kabul, the first to return since the Taliban asked all foreigners to leave in September.

In Kabul, the dawn call to prayers competed with the sound of music for the first time in five years as residents awoke to life after the Taliban, who imposed rigid constraints in line with their interpretation of Islam, including a ban on music.

Factions in the northern Alliance split the city along ethnic lines within hours of their entry -- a sign Kabul could revert to the patchwork divisions that sparked bloody power struggles when the same groups took over from the Soviet-installed government.

But most people seemed pleased. ``Everything is different today, it's 100 percent changed,'' said 35-year-old tire seller Sarfraz Hostai. ``We had so many problems before, but now we are free and we are waiting for our new government.''

The U.N. Security Council is considering a British and French drafted resolution Wednesday that would support a political blueprint drafted by Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for Afghanistan.

Brahimi has suggested a ``coalition of the willing'' contribute multinational troops, which diplomats said could include Turkey, Jordan and Malaysia, along with European nations.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
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Did a search, didn't see it posted.

GO US MILITARY GO!!! TAKE 'EM OUT!!!

1 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:33 PM PST by usconservative
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To: usconservative
BUMP TO TOP
2 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:33 PM PST by usconservative
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To: usconservative
This particualr article may not have been posted, but other similar ones beat you to it. No matter.

The article states "But military analysts expected the Taliban, aided by al Qaeda, to take to Afghanistan's impenetrable mountains..."

They're right. Food caravans cannot get in. Fuel cannot get in. They cannot get out.

But we can hammer them from the air whenever we find them, and spotters on the ground can call in precision munitions. They can run, but they'll only die tired, hungry, cold and thirsty.

3 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:35 PM PST by Blueflag
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To: usconservative
NOOOO!!! We do NOT want to capture Osama bin Laden:

Worst case: We capture Osama - Terrorist acts to get him released. No guarantee of conviction.
2nd Worst case: We kill Osama. - Makes him a martyr.
3rd worst case: The Taliban kills Osama - Still a martyr, but anger is not as directly focused on the US.

Best case (IMHO) We flatten The Taliban, and Osama "escapes"...
We hear that he is in Iraq. Flatten Iraq, Osama "escapes"...
We hear he is in Lybia. Flatten Lybia, Osama "escapes"...
Repeat as needed until all terror exporting countries stop...

4 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:35 PM PST by null and void
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To: usconservative
Finding Osama bin Laden may be hunting a "needle in a haystack", but the haystack is getting smaller all the time.

How about we set the haystack on fire? Oh, we are already doing that.... Several dozen "daisy cutters" and a few well placed "bunker busters" should leave the earth sufficiently scorched so the remains of Osama bin Laden and the majority of al-Qaeda may never be identified.

Hezbollah, Hamas, Saddam Hussein, tremble in your boots, cower in your beds, for we are coming after you. The Fist of Allah is using the the United States as His instrument to smite you, and will not suffer your apostasy to live. Infinite Justice shall prevail.

5 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:46 PM PST by alloysteel
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To: Blueflag
we can hammer them from the air whenever we find them

Think FLIR.

6 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:46 PM PST by angkor
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To: usconservative

7 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:46 PM PST by NC Conservative
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To: usconservative

8 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:46 PM PST by NC Conservative
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To: usconservative
".....the Taliban's collapse boosted U.S. prospects for hunting down Laden."

Message to Pentagon: Also commence operation "Highway of Death" for all fleeing vehicles.

9 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:47 PM PST by NetValue
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To: usconservative
Looks like there's going to be a lot of used black Turbans for sale on E-bay!
10 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:47 PM PST by Rome2000
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To: NC Conservative

11 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:48 PM PST by FITZ
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To: NC Conservative
Great picture! And when Bin Laden is finally getting his just desserts he will look to heaven and scream, "WHY, Allah, WHY!!!??? And Allah will say, "Because, Osama, YOU pissed me off!"
12 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:48 PM PST by AuntB
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To: null and void
When you say he "escapes", are you referring to the kind of "escape" where he is never heard from again?
13 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:49 PM PST by Freemyland
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To: AuntB

14 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:50 PM PST by FITZ
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To: NetValue
"Message to Pentagon: Also commence operation "Highway of Death" for all fleeing vehicles."

That's underway. They already have a video, 'the luckiest guy in Afghanistan.' The missle just missed him. (A truck moving at high speed)

15 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:51 PM PST by blam
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To: usconservative
the Taliban and the al Qaeda network of their guest bin Laden

If I see Bin Laden referred to as their GUEST one more time I am going to scream!! This year the Taliban named Bin Laden the supreme commander in chief of their military! He is not a GUEST! Of course the western press pretty much ignored the fact that this even happened when it did, so it is likely most of them don't have any clue that he is.

16 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:52 PM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: blam
That's underway. They already have a video, 'the luckiest guy in Afghanistan.' The missle just missed him. (A truck moving at high speed)

We need the A-10's NOW!

17 posted on 11/16/2001 1:08:55 PM PST by MarketR
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To: HamiltonJay
If I see Bin Laden referred to as their GUEST one more time I am going to scream!! This year the Taliban named Bin Laden the supreme commander in chief of their military! He is not a GUEST!.

Bin Laden's year-end performance review is going to show some negative results. He would lose his job if he hadn't already lost his employers.


18 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:11 PM PST by AZLiberty
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To: FITZ
Fitz! YOU are bad! I love you!

Thanks. Hope all is well with you.

19 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:13 PM PST by AuntB
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To: Blueflag
They're right. Food caravans cannot get in. Fuel cannot get in. They cannot get out.

The mountains work both ways. It's a convenient place for an ambush, but if you already know they are there, it's also a good place for a prison.

But we can hammer them from the air whenever we find them, and spotters on the ground can call in precision munitions. They can run, but they'll only die tired, hungry, cold and thirsty.

Winter is about to set in. There's no point in chasing after them. Just set up defensive positions at the choke points and wait until spring. The few that survive will be ready to surrender.

We could use FLIR to shoot anything that moves (for target practice(. But, we shouldn't risk any lives to dig out people that are already dead anyway.

20 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:26 PM PST by justlurking
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To: Freemyland
When you say he "escapes", are you referring to the kind of "escape" where he is never heard from again?

Not quite. He is seen whenever we need him to be seen. Think "Flying Dutchman"...

21 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:51 PM PST by null and void
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To: null and void
Let Osama "escape" bump.
22 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:53 PM PST by headsonpikes
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To: headsonpikes
LOL!
23 posted on 11/16/2001 1:09:55 PM PST by null and void
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To: FITZ
Re: Post 14

ROFL
Good One
24 posted on 11/16/2001 1:10:13 PM PST by Fiddlstix
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To: null and void
Gotcha!
25 posted on 11/16/2001 1:10:37 PM PST by Freemyland
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