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October 12, 2001
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Pakistan still aiding Taleban: Northern Alliance

Pakistan continues to give help to Afghanistan's ruling Taleban despite supporting the US war against the militia, according to the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance.

In an interview with World Report TV, Northern Alliance envoy to Uzbekistan Muhammad Hasham Saad said: "The regular Pakistani army, the officers, are still inside Afghanistan with the Taleban."

Saad added: "Last week we had information that a lot of trucks were coming (to Afghanistan) from Chaman, which is in the side of Quetta in Pakistan, to help the Taleban."

The Northern Alliance estimates that about 100 trucks entered Afghanistan the week before the US began bombing Afghanistan, carrying ammunition and other military supplies.

After a week of the bombings, Saad said he could confirm the US assessment that about 90 per cent of the Taleban Air Force had indeed been destroyed, and that the head of Taleban Air Force was killed early in the air campaign.

He identified the air chief as Maulvi Akhtar Muhammad and claimed he was killed with 40 men at Mazar-e-Sharif.

The Northern Alliance was also hopeful that the US air attacks, which have until now concentrated on the Taleban air defences, would begin to concentrate on the Taleban frontline forces facing off against Northern Alliance troops.

Clearly, the Northern Alliance would need much greater help if it were to capture the bigger cities. For now its offensive is concentrated on the centre of Afghanistan and the areas to the east and north of Kabul.

The Northern Alliance is also looking for greater help from India, which has restricted its role mainly to medicines and humanitarian supplies. At least one Northern Alliance official confided that financial help would be greatly appreciated, especially with the onset of winter. Such financial help could be used to buy out disaffected Taleban commanders.

Emboldened by the air attacks, the Northern Alliance is preparing for the ground assault that would be needed to oust the Taleban from north Afghanistan and the major cities before the onset of winter.

Indo-Asian News Service

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