Surrendered Kandahar Plagued With Despoliation

Kandahar which has been surrendered by the Taliban is being plagued with pillage of shops, a correspondent of the UAE-based Gulf News newspaper, reported from the Pakistani town of Quetta making reference to Afghan refugees. At the same time, a part of local residents went out into the streets to greet the new authorities. Citizens were burning and tearing into pieces Taliban banners. Others were singing Pushtun songs, which had been forbidden by the Taliban. In general, the situation in Kandahar remained calm. Troops loyal to Hamid Karzai, the new Afghan Premier, have occupied the buildings in the centre of the city, which had previously seated Taliban offices. Troops of Haji Gul Agha, the former governor of Kandahar, have also seized a part of the town following a short clash with the unit commanded by Mullah Najibullah, the Taliban official who surrendered the town. Hamid Karzai, the head of the Afghan interim government, has accused the Taliban of violating the agreement on surrendering the town stating that many fighters have not laid down their weapons, while Mullah Mohammad Omar and other high-ranking Taliban officials have escaped instead of surrendering. Haji Gul Agha stated that Mullah Mohammad Omar and 2,000 Taliban soldiers and foreign mercenaries had found shelter on the territories controlled by Najibullah's troops, while 300 foreign mercenaries were still holding Kandahar air field. Others believe that Mullah Omar has escaped to his native province of Uruzgan or to the province of Zabul. At the same time, it's quite possible that he is still hiding in the town. Some sources report that American infantry has opened fire on groups of armed Taliban soldiers and foreign mercenaries when they were marching out of the town.

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