Thirty More Taliban Surrender at Kunduz

Published November 24th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Another 30 Taliban fighters surrendered Saturday to Northern Alliance forces near the city of Kunduz where the Islamic militia have been under siege for two weeks. 

Before Saturday, Northern Alliance officials said 500-600 Taliban soldiers had given themselves up since Thursday in the Islamic militia's last northern stronghold. 

The 30 who surrendered Saturday were seen crossing the front lines in jeeps and turning themselves in to an ethnic Tajik faction of the Northern Alliance, which is a loose coalition of minorities often at odds with each other. 

Tajik General Mohammad Daoud said his troops were keeping up their siege but would allow civilians to leave the Taliban's last northern bastion and militia fighters to surrender if they so choose. 

He did not rule out, however, an attack by Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostam. The alliance's Tajik and Uzbek factions are both battling for control of Kunduz when it is taken from the Taliban. 

Dostam directs the alliance's operations northwest of Kunduz and has conducted separate negotiations with Taliban leaders. 

Daoud, who is in charge of the alliance's operations on a front east of the city, said: "There are no more negotiations with the Taliban. 

"But the siege of Kunduz is going to continue to allow civilians to leave the city and all militia fighters who so desire to surrender," he said. The general did not set a time limit on the siege. 

The area appeared calm on Saturday and no artillery was heard around the encircled city of Khanabad, 25 kilometers (15 miles) to the east of Kunduz. 

Nor was there any sign of the US bombers who have attacked Taliban positions there regularly – Afghanistan (AF)

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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