Final preparations for an assault on the Taleban’s last stronghold, Kandahar, are taking place. Thousands of US marines expected to be involved.
Hundreds of US Marines are building up at an air base near Kandahar, part of a larger group which could number as much as 2,000 to be flown in from US carriers in the Arabian Sea. These forces will coordinate their actions with the opposition tribes hostile to Mullah Omar’s Taleban forces.
Different groups are converging on Kandahar, the Achakzai, led by Haji Ibrahim and troops loyal to Gul Agha Shairzai, a former Kandahar Mujaheddin leader and Hamid Karzai. Kandahar is now cut off from the border town Spin Boldak, after opposition Pashtun tribesmen took the village of Takht-i-Pull, meaning that any escape route for the Taleban southwards into Pakistan is impossible.
An offer by the opposition forces for the Taleban to surrender was turned down by Mullah Omar, who declared that he has the capacity to overturn the current situation in his favour.
It is claimed by Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah that both Mohammad Omar and Osama Bin Laden are penned in at Kandahar and cannot escape. Jalalabad, however, in eastern Afghanistan was Osama Bin Laden’s favourite hideout in the past and there have been claims of sightings in this area.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)