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Alessio Vinci: Alliance pushes Taliban to surrender

CNN's Alessio Vinci
CNN's Alessio Vinci  

MAZAR-E SHARIF, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Two Taliban commanders in Konduz and the Northern Alliance's Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum are meeting Wednesday in Mazar-e Sharif to talk about a possible surrender of Taliban forces.

CNN's Alessio Vinci is based in the northern Afghan city and filed the following report:

VINCI: We're waiting here at the compound of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who is the top Northern Alliance commander in Mazar-e Sharif. The two top Taliban commanders from Konduz ... [are] to negotiate with the Northern Alliance commanders [for] a surrender of the Taliban forces in Konduz.

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We understand that some kind of amnesty could be negotiated for the Afghan Taliban. However, we do not believe amnesty will be extended to the so-called foreign fighters -- the Chechen, the Pakistanis and the Arabs who are fighting in Konduz on behalf of the Taliban.

We also don't know if Gen. Dostum and the Northern Alliance have given the Taliban an ultimatum before they can surrender. But we understand that as many as 6,000 Northern Alliance troops in Mazar-e Sharif are ready to be deployed to Konduz, a three-to five-hour drive away.

We have seen Gen. Dostum coming and going from the compound. Earlier, we also saw another general, who told us the Taliban have been given enough time to think about what to do in Konduz and that they should be surrendering any time now. Otherwise, they will face the consequences of a Northern Alliance attack.

CNN: If these talks fail, would the Northern Alliance advance?

VINCI: Absolutely. They're getting ready for a final push into Konduz. They've been trying to negotiate for quite some time now. All the Northern Alliance commanders in Mazar-e Sharif seem to be very much convinced that if these talks were to fail, they would be preparing for a major assault into Konduz.

We heard several reports already of Taliban fighters switching sides or coming out of Konduz. The big problem is the so-called foreign fighters -- they are the hard-core Taliban fighters. These are the ones who will not give up, who will eventually be fighting against the Northern Alliance.


• Taliban to meet alliance: report
November 21, 2001

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