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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Northern Alliance Advances Into Konduz

Aired November 25, 2001 - 08:54   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: We have now some breaking news for you. Konduz, the city in northern Afghanistan that had been under a tense standoff for over a week, now reportedly has Northern Alliance troops advancing at lightening speed.

CNN's Satinder Bindra is just outside of that besieged city and he joins us live with an update -- Satinder.

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martin. Northern Alliance troops now telling us they've started to enter the city of Konduz. They say they are meeting no resistance from Taliban fighters trapped in there. We are hearing from Northern Alliance soldiers that the Taliban fighters are retreating to the west part of the city.

Now, night has fallen here, as you can see, on the front lines. And earlier today, just about two to three hours ago, Northern Alliance soldiers took another important city, the city of Khanabad, which is about 10 miles east of Konduz. Again, they met no major resistance. Our producer Ryan Chilcote was there. He says there was a gun battle between some al Qaeda fighters and Northern Alliance troops, but that was the extent of the engagement between both sides.

Martin, since this morning, we've been noticing hundreds of Taliban troops, mainly Afghan-Taliban fighters surrendering here to the Northern Alliance. I counted one convoy of about 30 cars, trucks, Jeeps and pick-ups on the war into Northern Alliance territory.

Now, I noticed many of the cars and pick-ups were plastered in mud, possibly a way to detect being seen from the air. Many of the fighters who have been surrendering here are telling us that U.S. air strikes were very intense. It completely destroyed their moral and possibly was one of the major reasons for their surrender.

Back to you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Satinder, did those that have surrendered tell the Northern Alliance how many remained in Konduz and what sort of resistance to possibly expect and where?

BINDRA: We are estimating, based on conversations with the Taliban who surrendered and based on conversations with the Northern Alliance, that possibly there could be as many as 10,000 fighters still inside of Konduz. Now, 3,000 of these are believed to be the hardcore Taliban fighters -- fighters from Pakistan, from Chechnya, from Uzbekistan. There are also al Qaeda fighters. Now, these fighters fear that if they surrender to the Northern Alliance they could be killed. They fear reprisals from Northern Alliance soldiers so over the past one week or so, they've indicated no willingness to surrender. They've perhaps indicated they're willing to stand up and fight.

So far, as Northern Alliance forces enter in Konduz, we are not hearing reports of any major fighting. Perhaps, that may come tomorrow morning -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: All right, Satinder Bindra reporting to us now, unconfirmed reports that Northern Alliance forces have made their way initially into Konduz.

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