Saudi Paper Claims About 1,500 Arab And Chechen Gunmen Have Joined The Taliban

The Saudi paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat asserts that after the September 11 events about 1,500 Arabs, Chechens and gunmen from other Asian countries have joined the Taliban. They got into Afghanistan through the Iranian border, and further on through Herat. The paper notes that many of them took part in military operations in Chechnya. The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat writes that the gunmen of Arab and other nationalities are fighting fiercely, since Afghanistan is the last shelter for them and they have nowhere else to go. Many of the gunmen are wanted in their respective countries and are on Interpol wanted lists. It is noted that the foreign gunmen are fighting in the most dangerous sectors, for example, in the Taliban front-line positions north of Kabul, as well as in Kandahar and Jalalabad. According to the paper, two battalions of Afghans of Arab nationality control the area around Jalalabad, which abounds in caves and grottos and where Osama bin Laden and his followers are believed to be hiding. -0 (tol/kri) 23/10/01 15:50 

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