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Rabbani Vows to Continue Fight Against Taleban - 2001-09-25


The U.N.-recognized president of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani, says he will continue the fight against the Taleban despite the assassination of the opposition's military leader, Ahmad Shah Masood. He was speaking at a memorial service for Ahmad Shah Masood in northern Afghanistan.

President Rabbani says the attacks against the United States on September 11 were "ringing the bell that has woken the world to the threat of the Taleban."

Speaking to his soldiers, Mr. Rabbani said the death of Ahmad Shah Masood had not weakened the Northern Alliance. But now, with the prospect of international help, including from the United States, he says the Northern Alliance had been strengthened.

Several thousand mourners attended the service. They shouted, "Death to bin Laden" and "Death to Mullah Omar," during speeches by the president and the Northern Alliance's new military leader, General Mohammad Faheem.

There were hundreds of northern alliance fighters among the mourners. They came to remember their charismatic military leader and to prepare themselves for what they say is the great fight ahead.

Northern Alliance forces are fighting against the Taleban in the north and west of the country, and now control about 10 percent of the country.

The Northern Alliance is claiming victories on the road to the town of Mazar-e-Sharif, currently held by the Taleban.

For the first time Monday, the Taleban admitted it forces were falling back. Despite this, the Taleban says it has 300,000 troops waiting to join the fight and protect the capital, Kabul, from any attack. It is thought that the Taleban may be consolidating its troops in the south to protect its stronghold of Kandahar.

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