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US May Halt Afghan Bombing for Surrender Talks - 2001-11-20

The Pentagon says it might halt some bombing in Afghanistan to facilitate negotiations between opposition forces and the al-Qaida and Taleban fighters holding out in the northern city of Kunduz.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has voiced opposition to any deal that would allow Taleban or terrorist forces to leave Kunduz, possibly to go abroad. He wants them killed or captured.

But Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem of the military's Joint Staff said Tuesday that U.S. air strikes on the city could be halted to help surrender talks. "If the opposition groups were to ask us not to bomb a specific facility or location so they could continue their discussions, we'll certainly honor that," the admiral said.

Admiral Stufflebeem describes the situations in Kunduz and the southern Taleban stronghold of Kandahar as stand-offs with some fierce fighting going on as well as peace talks.