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Northern Alliance Consolidates Hold on North and Central Afghanistan - 2001-11-14

Northern Alliance forces continued to consolidate their hold on northern and central Afghanistan on Wednesday. However, Taleban authorities say they still control most areas in the south and east of the country.

U.S. special envoy James Dobbins will hold talks Thursday with senior Pakistani officials and with Afghan exile political leaders in Pakistan. His talks in Islamabad follow discussions with Afghanistan's exiled King Zahir Shah in Rome.

In Kabul, Northern Alliance officials said they would soon start television broadcasts - banned by the Taleban as un-Islamic. Northern Alliance troops continue to patrol Kabul streets, a day after they entered the capital after the Taleban withdrew south. The Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah says the movement supports a broad-based multi-ethnic post Taleban government for Afghanistan.

Speaking in Islamabad, foreign ministry spokesman Aziz Khan appealed to the United Nations to make sure that process moves forward. "We would like the United Nations and the international community to remind all groups in Afghanistan that they have given a commitment about a consultative process - or a peace process through which a representative multi-ethnic government acceptable to all Afghans can come into being," he said.

Northern Alliance commanders say they took control of Afghanistan's central Uruzgan province, which borders Kandahar, and Logan province, which is south of Kabul.

Taleban authorities say they still control most of Nangahar province which borders Pakistan. But a local warlord in Jalalabad - the capital of the province - is reported to be in control of the city.

Elsewhere, Northern Alliance allies who belong to Afghanistan's Pashtun ethnic majority are said to control the Kandahar airport. Taleban fighters have reportedly built defensive positions around the city, preparing for a battle with Northern Alliance troops who are reported to be moving south towards Kandahar.