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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Northern Alliance Marches Into Konduz

Aired November 25, 2001 - 09:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get back to the breaking news this hour. A volatile situation in Konduz, as the Northern Alliance marches into the city. The deadline for the Taliban to surrender now has come and gone. It's a dangerous situation for journalists.

CNN's Satinder Bindra is just outside Konduz.

Satinder, what is the latest now?

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, the latest is that Northern Alliance generals are telling us their forces are, indeed, entering Konduz. They say they are in large parts of the city now, but they do not have full control of the city as of yet.

They say they have not encountered any resistance, so far at least, from Taliban fighters. According to the Northern Alliance, the Taliban fighters are not retreating to the western part of the city.

Earlier today, about three to four hours ago, Northern Alliance forces captured the city of Khanabad. Khanabad is just about 10 miles east of the city of Konduz.

Our producer Ryan Chilcote has just got back from Khanabad with some of these pictures that you're about to see now, and Ryan also joins us. Ryan, can you describe the mood of the advancing Northern Alliance soldiers?

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN PRODUCER: It was a pretty chaotic scene. We were traveling in a convoy with probably, we estimate around 1,000 Northern Alliance troops. They, you know, they were dead set on getting to Konduz.

Those that were - many of them were in trucks, but others were on foot and it was almost, they were actually running towards Konduz which was kind of crazy. It would take them at least a few hours to get there.

So it was a real sort of jubilant move towards the city of Konduz.

BINDRA: What about resistance in Khanabad? Was there none at all or did they run into some pockets of resistance?

CHILCOTE: You know, initially there was little resistance. We could hear some, you know, some sporadic gunfire in the distance. However, when we got about two kilometers from the city of Khanabad, a gun battle did break out. The convoy stopped. The Northern Alliance troops assumed positions on the side of the road.

And there was machine gun fire, mortar fire, and several of the Northern Alliance troops actually tried to commandeer our car, to send it, they wanted to come back here to flee from the area.

So it was sort of a jittery, if you will, move west. They actually did, I guess, win that gun battle and continue on towards the city of Khanabad.

BINDRA: Now, when you saw the Northern Alliance soldiers a few hours ago, what exactly were they doing in Khanabad?

CHILCOTE: Well they looked like they were trying to establish some sense of order. There weren't that many of them. That was one of the things that cameraman Greg Delilenka (ph) and I noted.

Most of the troops seemed to be moving on towards Konduz. It was like there was a big race for Konduz underway, and very few had actually stayed back in Khanabad.

The troops, however, that we did see in Khanabad, they looked like they were inspecting houses, speaking with the local population, and just sort of, you know, trying to get their bearings in a very chaotic environment.

BINDRA: Talking about the local population, were they welcoming Northern Alliance troops? Was there an atmosphere of great celebration? What did you see?

CHILCOTE: Bewilderment. They seemed to be bewildered. I mean, the locals that we spoke with in the town said that just 40 minutes before we arrived, at least a couple hundred of Pakistani fighters had been in the village, and had fled. And so they were quite surprised now that the Northern Alliance was there and it all seemed like a rather quick turn of events for them.

BINDRA: Ryan, thanks.

So Martin, that is the latest here on the battlefront. After capturing the town of Khanabad just ten miles east of Konduz, the Northern Alliance is now saying it has entered the last remaining stronghold of the Taliban in the north, Konduz.

Back to you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Satinder before you go, there had been reports that these non-Afghan fighters are detested by the Northern Alliance fighters and that they were hesitant to surrender, fearing reprisal. Should they be concerned about that? Do you sense hatred coming from these Northern Alliance troops as they race to get now into Konduz?

BINDRA: There is some hatred definitely. The Northern Alliance, as Ryan also mentioned, call the non-Afghan fighters "terrorists." They say they've come to wreck their country. They're quite bitter.

Just about a few weeks ago, two Arab journalists they say assassinated their commander, Commander Massoud, so ever since then there has been a lot of bitterness towards these non-Afghan fighters.

Just about three days ago, standing right here by the roadside, there was a man who walked over from the Taliban side. Promptly he was jeered. Many people gathered around him. He was described as a Taliban spy, and he was promptly beaten up.

He wasn't beaten up very badly, but he was beaten up and it gave us an opportunity to judge some of the hatred and some of the ill will that has developed against these non-Afghan fighters who are still in Konduz.

We are given to understand, Martin, probably there's about 3,000 of them. These are fighters from Chechnya, from Uzbekistan, from Pakistan, and there's also al Qaeda fighters -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: CNN'S Satinder Bindra reporting to us from just outside Konduz.

Again, reporting and repeating for you, reports now Northern Alliance troops have made their way at least into the initial outskirts of that city.

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