Afghan Arab Veteran Says 1,000 Saudis in Afghanistan

Published December 1st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

A veteran "Afghan Arab" estimated in remarks published Saturday that about 1,000 Saudi nationals are currently in Afghanistan. 

Saudi Salah al-Salman, identified as the oldest mujahid (holy fighter) against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, also said he believes the al-Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden is all but finished. 

Salman told the London-based pan-Arab daily Al Hayat that a lot of efforts had been exerted to convince a large number of "Afghan Arabs," especially those from the Gulf, to return to their home countries. 

"Al-Qaeda and the Taliban militia are interlinked. Because of what happened to the Taliban and the surrender of a large part of the militia, I believe that al-Qaeda is finished," the paper quoted Salman as saying in a dispatch datelined al-Khobar, an eastern Saudi city. 

Saudi Okaz newspaper said Thursday that at least 15 Saudis and 13 Yemenis fighting alongside the Taliban militia had been killed since the start of the US-led war in Afghanistan on October 7. 

Five Kuwaiti members of the al-Qaeda terror network, meanwhile, were killed during this week's prison uprising in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when US warplanes pounded the compound, according to Kuwait's Al-Watan paper. 

Hundreds of "Afghan Arabs" and other foreigners have reportedly surrendered to the Northern Alliance as the Taliban lost control of key areas around Afghanistan. 

"Afghan Arabs" are Arabs such as chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden who originally went to Afghanistan to help fight the Soviet invasion of the country in the 1980s -- RIYADH (AFP) 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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