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Taleban Opposition: Bin Laden Hiding in Central Afghanistan - 2001-09-28

The anti-Taleban Northern Alliance says it is sure that alleged terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is in Afghanistan. It has received information that Mr. bin Laden is in the center of the country, which is under Taleban control.

Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah says Osama bin Laden is in hiding in Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan.

He also says that Mr. bin Laden's men have been sighted in the city of Jalalabad near the border with Pakistan. He says this indicates that Osama bin Laden is likely to be constantly on the move.

Foreign Minister Abdullah also says his impression is that any possible American air strikes against Afghanistan are only a matter of days away.

He says he has had further contacts with the United States, although no face-to-face meetings yet. He says his representatives in Washington have met with Bush administration officials.

Mr. Abdullah also welcomed Russian offers of increased supplies of weaponry for the Northern Alliance's ongoing battle with the Taleban.

Thursday is the fifth anniversary of the Taleban's rule.

Mr. Abdullah says that the Northern Alliance is going to meet the exiled king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zaher Shah. The 86 year-old king has lived in Italy since being deposed almost 30 years ago. The United States and the United Nations have also sent representatives to Rome to meet the former king.

Mr. Abdullah says the Northern Alliance would support a future Afghan government headed by the king once the Taleban had been removed from power.