General Dustum: There Are No U.S. Special Task Policemen In Northern Afghanistan

General Abdul Rashid Dustum of the anti-Taliban coalition has dismissed media reports about 1,000 US special task policemen being stationed in Northern Afghanistan as "unfounded." In a Saturday telephone interview with the Pakistani newspaper News, Dustum also dismissed rumors about US advisers instructing his detachments, which are currently fighting the Taliban outside Mazar-i-Sharif. What Americans actually do is "lending humanitarian aid to the population" of districts close to Mazar-i-Sharif and other districts of Northern Afghanistan that are controlled by the opposition, said Dustum. Further on, the general dismissed reports about the Northern Alliance getting weapon deliveries from Turkey. "Afghanistan has always had goods relations with Ankara. Turkey lends large quantities of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, builds schools and hospitals across the country," he stressed. According to Dustum, his soldiers are stationed 25 km away from Mazar-i-Sharif and are ready to launch another offensive on the town. "We are waiting until the USA enforce air strikes on Mazar-i-Sharif," said the general. "That is when we will launch the offensive." Dustum also confirmed that a large number of mercenaries from Pakistan, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan are fighting the Northern Alliance alongside the Taliban.

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