Kandahar Under Heavy Attacks as Talks Underway for Surrender of Taliban's Last Northern Hideout
The Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south came under heavy US airstrikes Friday morning, amid reports that the last northern bastion of the weakening militia would be handed over to the northern rebels peacefully, according to reports.
According to Al Jazeera satellite channel, a mosque and the foreign ministry of Taliban in th city were completely destroyed.
Meanwhile, AFP reported that Northern Alliance forces held talks Friday to persuade thousands of Taliban dug into their last northern bastion of Kunduz to surrender, a commander said.
"There are talks going on for the Taliban surrender. Those who refuse will be killed," said General Mohammad Daud.
The governor of Kunduz had called for a two-day grace period before the Northern Alliance attack the city in order to evacuate citizens, according to Daud.
"At the end of two days, we will attack. We want to enter Kunduz before winter," he added, saying fighting would not stop for the weekend start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Up to 30,000 Taliban soldiers, including 10,000 foreign "jihad" fighters of Chechen, Pakistani and Arab origin, control a perimeter about 20 kilometers (12 miles) around Kunduz, Daud said.
Asked about an eventual amnesty for those Taliban and foreign fighters who surrender their arms, Daud said "those who have committed crimes will be brought to justice."
"Our task in this town is to distinguish between the Afghan Taliban and the international terrorists who are fighting with them," Daud said Thursday.
The general was referring to mostly Arabs and Pakistanis who fight in the Taliban side, and seen by their rivals as “mercenaries.” – Albawaba.com
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