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Taleban Collapses, Campaign Focuses on Finding Omar, Bin Laden


With the collapse of Afghanistan's hardline Taleban militia, attention is now focused on the whereabouts of accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his patron, Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The last stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan surrendered on Friday. But the victory is in danger from old tribal, ethnic, and political rivalries.

Afghanistan's soon-to-be installed interim leader, Hamid Karzai, has pledged to bring Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden to international justice. But their whereabouts remain unknown.

Mullah Omar managed to slip away in the confusion that marked the surrender of Kandahar to anti-Taleban forces, but some reports suggest he could still be hiding somewhere in the city. Officials believe Osama bin Laden is somewhere in the rugged Tora Bora region in eastern Afghanistan, but he has not yet been tracked down.

Kandahar was the last stronghold of the Taleban, and its surrender to tribal leaders, after relentless pounding by U.S. warplanes, marks the end of the harsh rule of the Islamic militia.

However, the victors have already taken to squabbling among themselves for power, and the situation among them in the city is reported to be tense. A council, or shura, was called to try to bring the situation under control.

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