Volume 95, Issue 43

Friday, November 16, 2001
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Profs slam television war

Western students must consider fire safety

Run for your lives: the sky is falling!

Taliban predicts 'destruction'

Study: Canadian chicks dig university

News Briefs

Tuition not scaring the kiddies

University buildings crumbling

Smoker of the Week

Taliban predicts 'destruction'

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

The Taliban may be losing its grip on Afghanistan, but, according to its leader, he and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden remain focused on the "destruction of America."

While United States-led strikes in Afghanistan claimed several key Taliban lieutenants, Taliban leader Mullah Omar predicted "destruction" would soon befall America.

"The real matter is the extinction of America and, God willing, it will fall to the ground," he said in an interview with the BBC.

"But it is a huge task, which is beyond the will and comprehension of human beings," he said. "If God's help is with us, this will happen in a short period of time – keep in mind this prediction.

The American strikes which claimed Taliban and al-Qaida officials were focused on Kabul and Kandahar, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.

U.S. officials said bin Laden may be preparing to flee the country, but repeated their vow to hunt him down wherever he may go.

"I think we will find him, either there or in another country," said U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

American military officials also promised to approach their attack with a renewed focus, in an attempt to hunt down the remaining "alligators."

"We are tightening the noose," said Gen. Tommy Franks. "It's a matter of time."

In Afghanistan, northern alliance forces and Pashtun tribesman closed in on two of the Taliban's last remaining strongholds – Kundz to the north and Kandahar in the south.

Reports indicated intense fighting in both regions and large gains made by anti-Taliban rebels around Khandahar.

Military planners are also working hard to determine how approximately 1,000 Canadian troops will be used in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Art Eggleton said troops are expected to leave soon, but the details of their mission has not yet been determined.

Eggleton said Canada is eager to place troops on the ground in order to provide stability and ensure the safe delivery of food and supplies.

"There needs to be short-term stabilization brought about so we can get humanitarian assistance in and help settle matters down," he said.

–with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press

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