Volume 95, Issue 51

Friday, November 30, 2001
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Ivey Journal vs. Izzy Asper

Battle for Kandahar

Foot Patrol offers safety in numbers

Like Maestro Fresh Wes, Zander conducting thangs

MacIntyre discusses the 5th Estate

Is Canada getting dumber? Brain Drain debate rages on

Chapters CEO bans Hitler's Mein Kampf

News Briefs

Battle for Kandahar

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

The birthplace of the Taliban may soon become its burial site.

Fighting around the last Taliban stronghold of Kandahar has escalated in recent days as American and northern alliance forces attempt to finish off the once-powerful regime.

Anti-Taliban troops have reached the outskirts of the city and are engaged in heavy fighting, said Bismillah Khan, the alliance's deputy defence minister. Khan told the Associated Press there was non-stop fighting on the city's eastern edge.

While he said the fighting was heavy, he did not expect the city to fall any time soon.

Speaking in Washington, United States Rear-Admiral John Stufflebeem said he could not confirm or deny whether opposition forces had entered Kandahar.

Anti-Taliban forces may have entered the area around Kandahar, he said, approximately 80 kilometres north of the city.

U.S. warplanes struck positions near Kandahar's airport Thursday after Taliban forces fired rockets at local tribesmen who radioed for American air support, said Abdul Jabbar, an anti-Taliban tribal official.

Reports from residents fleeing Kandahar indicate bombs fell around the city overnight, but no details could be confirmed.

U.S. marines are also setting up outside Kandahar – establishing a base in the desert west of the city. Approximately 1,000 troops are located outside Kandahar as other special forces and Western troops enter other areas of Afghanistan.

Supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar apparently ordered his men to "fight to the death."

"The fight has now begun. It is the best opportunity to achieve martyrdom," a Taliban official quoted Omar as saying. "Now we have the opportunity to fight against the infidels."

In Germany, several Afghan factions meeting in hopes of establishing a post-Taliban government are reportedly nearing an agreement.

Plans to create an interim administration are nearing completion and the northern alliance has reconsidered its objection to an international security force entering the country.

–with files from Associated Press and Canadian Press

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Copyright The Gazette 2001