Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Al Qaida Killing Taliban fighters to prevent surrender

Al Qaida Killing Taliban fighters to prevent surrender

Publication: Times of India
Date: November 19, 2001

A grim situation prevails in the northern Afghan town of Kunduz with hundreds of Taliban fighters holed up in the besieged city killing each other to avoid capture by the advancing Northern Alliance troops.

About 60 Chechen fighters drowned themselves in the nearby Amu river, while a Northern Alliance commander said 25 trapped Taliban fighters fatally shot one another when they saw opposition troops advancing towards them, CNN reported on Sunday.

Meanwhile, reports from London said Osama bin Laden's elite Al Qaida guard, mainly comprising Arabs and Pakistanis, were slaughtering Taliban troops to prevent them from surrendering to the Northern Alliance.

In the first eye-witness account of life inside the city, escaping civilians on Saturday night told the Sunday Telegraph that an Arab Al Qaida commander had ordered the massacre of 150 Afghan Taliban fighters who wanted to defect. The Taliban and Al Qaida were forcing local men to fight for them, and beating or killing them if they refused.

Mohammed Ibrahim, 50, who escaped from the city on Saturday, said "A commander who was foreign gave the order for 150 local Afghan Taliban to be killed because they wanted to surrender. 'They showed them no mercy."

The massacre, according to the eyewitness account, took place on Friday and followed the defection of 1,000 Afghan Taliban fighters under Gen Mirai Nasery, a local commander. Al Qaida soldiers have arrested more than 100 prominent Kunduz citizens and are holding them hostage to stall an Alliance attack. Details of the Kunduz massacre came as Alliance forces consolidated their grip on areas of the country captured from the Taliban last week.

There were reports that Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's supreme leader, was trying to negotiate guarantees for his own safety and she safety of his fighters in their last remaining stronghold of Kandahar before surrendering.

Meanwhile an uneasy calm descended on Sunday in Kandahar as tribal leaders renewed efforts to negotiate a peaceful surrender by the Islamic militia.

"The atmosphere in the city is tense but there are no reports of fighting," said Hamid Karzai, who is one of three Pashtun tribal elders bidding to coax the so-called moderate Taliban to defect to the opposition. "We are continuing negotiations for a peaceful transfer of control in the city," Karzai told press-persons by satellite phone from the neighbouring province of Uruzgan.

Earlier reports that Mullah Mohammad Omar had agreed to surrender the city to the two other Pashtun chiefs, Mullah Naqibullah and Haji Bashar, were dismissed by the militia's spokesperson as "western propaganda." (Agencies)

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