- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 27, 2001

From combined dispatches
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan Conquering Northern Alliance troops rampaged through this northern city yesterday stalking Taliban fighters and foreign forces, shooting the wounded and leaving them to die in the street.
To the west, in another violent spasm, foreign Taliban fighters and Northern Alliance forces engaged in a fierce gunbattle for control of a prisoner holding center.
"Talib, Talib," little boys jeered as they ran alongside trucks carrying terrified Taliban prisoners in Kunduz, the last northern city to fall to U.S.-backed alliance forces. Bedraggled, middle-aged Afghan Taliban men sat in the vehicles with their arms bound behind them.
Some alliance fighters turned immediately to Kunduz's spoils, hauling off captured Taliban pickup trucks, cars and vans on tow lines two, three or even four vehicles deep.
Kunduz's fall followed a two-week siege of this grimy market city of 100,000 people where thousands seen as the hard core of the Taliban and its allied foreign militiamen had holed up. Foreigners Arabs, Pakistanis and others loyal to Osama bin Laden feared Northern Alliance fighters would kill them in cold blood if they gave up.
An agreement worked out by leaders called for an amnesty for the Afghan Taliban and for the foreigners to be confined and put on trial. Alim Razim, an adviser to alliance commander Rashid Dostum, said the alliance freed most of the 5,000 Afghan Taliban who surrendered and imprisoned 750 whom they suspected of being foreigners.
About 500 foreign fighters seized machine guns, grenades and other weapons from their guards and staged a revolt Sunday morning at a holding center near Mazar-e- Sharif. The uprising was answered by withering retaliation from Northern Alliance guards and waves of bombing by U.S. jets.
About 30 die-hard Taliban prisoners were still refusing to surrender last night. More than 100 Northern Alliance fighters had been killed, as well as possibly one member of the U.S. special forces.
Hundreds of the Taliban prisoners many of them slain by U.S. bombing were also believed to have been killed.
A final push to end the prison revolt was expected today if the militants refused to abandon the sprawling 19th-century Qala-i-Janghi fort, about six miles outside the city.
Pockets of resistance were still found in Kunduz at daybreak yesterday as the main contingent of alliance forces moved in.
Waiting Taliban fighters opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles in hours-long battles. The alliance had claimed to have taken Kunduz on Sunday.
The last stand ended dismally for the Taliban. Witnesses said at least 10 Taliban died in one morning firefight alone.
Angry over the attack, Northern Alliance fighters roamed the dust-covered streets, blasting away at wounded Taliban lying crumpled against store awnings.
Three fly-covered Taliban lay dead in empty market stalls. Each man's big toes had been looped together with cords to prevent his escape while alive. Kunduz residents said the Northern Alliance had captured the wounded men in fighting Sunday and shot them yesterday.
All told, perhaps 100 foreign and local Taliban died in fighting early yesterday, with another 10 Northern Alliance dead, alliance security official Rahman Ali said.
Alliance forces were going house to house, flushing out Taliban, he said.
On the main street at midafternoon, one burly, bearded Afghan Taliban appeared to be trying to win over uniformed soldiers who had hauled him from hiding.
Within seconds, the fat man was down on the ground, rifle butts smashing into him. Alliance fighters stomped on his face as he lay writhing, firing a shot into the air to drive back a too-curious crowd.
Fighters finally threw the man's body, inert, into the back of a truck.
And this was treatment for the Afghan Taliban; foreign fighters were nowhere in sight.
Northern Alliance fighters particularly hate foreign fighters, and consider them invaders of their country. Fighters on the front outside Kunduz often spoke forgivingly about their fellow Afghans in the Taliban but pledged in bloody terms to fight the foreign Islamic militiamen to the death.


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