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Northern Alliance captures Konduz

Taliban prisoners stage revolt near Mazar-e Sharif

Afghans of ethnic Tajik origin pray over the body of a Taliban fighter killed defending a Taliban position.  

KONDUZ, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Northern Alliance soldiers on Monday gained full control of Konduz, which had been the Taliban's last stronghold in northern Afghanistan.

Northern Alliance forces had begun moving into Konduz on Sunday, meeting armed resistance even as thousands of Taliban fighters surrendered. By Monday, however, the Northern Alliance had entered the heart of the city and was encountering no Taliban fighters.

Residents of Konduz welcomed the Northern Alliance soldiers, and celebrations began throughout the city, reports said.

Retreats, fighting

On Sunday, Gen. Atiqullah Baryalai, the Northern Alliance commander in the Konduz area, said his troops had entered the city and encountered only light resistance and small-arms fire. In addition, Baryalai said, Northern Alliance troops gained complete control of the outlying town of Kanabad on Sunday.

As the Alliance moved in, most Taliban fighters in Konduz retreated to the western part of the city, he said. Some Taliban fighters who surrendered said they would switch sides to help the Northern Alliance fight for the city.

At Kanabad, Northern Alliance forces said they encountered some resistance from troops belonging to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization. U.S. officials blame al Qaeda for the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

A Northern Alliance leader at Kanabad, Engineer Omar, told CNN that Juma Numangani, a bin Laden deputy, died of injuries suffered in a bomb blast near Mazar-e Sharif. His death could not be independently confirmed.

Numangani was a prime target of U.S. bombing near Dashtiqala two weeks ago. He established the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which sought to replace the country's secular government with a fundamentalist Islamic regime.

Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani said Sunday any non-Afghan Taliban fighters captured in fighting should be turned over to the United Nations and granted amnesty. The Northern Alliance had previously said the non-Afghan fighters should be arrested and tried as war criminals.

"We would like to find a solution despite the fact that they were fighting against us," Rabbani said. "We have nothing to do with them. We forgive them."

-- CNN Correspondents Alessio Vinci, Satinder Bindra and Ryan Chilcote contributed to this report.


• Taliban in north surrender in droves
November 24, 2001

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