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Afghan Leader: Kandahar Transfer of Power to Take 2-3 Days - 2001-12-06


The Taleban is negotiating the surrender of their last stronghold, the Afghan city of Kandahar. The announcement was made by Taleban leaders and the man designated to head Afghanistan's new interim government, Hamid Karzai.

The Taleban's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, has agreed to surrender Kandahar to local tribal leaders. He has not spoken himself, but former Taleban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, confirmed the planned surrender and said Taleban fighters would begin handing over their weapons to local Pashtun leaders Friday.

Hamid Karzai, who will head Afghanistan's new interim administration, said the transfer of power would be orderly and would take two to three days. He said there would be a general amnesty for what he called common Taleban prisoners, but there would be no safe passage for al-Qaida and foreign fighters. He described them as criminals who have destroyed our country.

Mr. Karzai said he did not know the whereabouts of Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden, but that Mullah Omar would not be covered by the amnesty until he renounced terrorism.

This planned surrender comes after fierce fighting in the region and the relentless bombing campaign by the United States and the landing of American troops near Kandahar last week.

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