The Afghan Northern Alliance has launched an operation to take the encircled Taliban stronghold of Kunduz by force after surrender talks unraveled, according to Indian media reports citing a statement of Northern Alliance Interior Minister Yunus Qanuni. "We have tried to settle the issue of Kunduz through negotiation but we have been forced to choose a military solution," Qanuni was quoted as saying. He went on to say the Northern Alliance forces were advancing at the moment, adding that they hoped to secure control of the city by the end of the week. Earlier reports said Northern Alliance warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum had negotiated a surrender of Kunduz to the Alliance forces with a number of Taliban commanders. The militants now defending Kunduz are made of a mix of fighters, many of whom have been recruited in Pakistan, Chechnya, or Arab states and linked to Osama bin Laden's guerrilla network.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart