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Afghanistan: Anti-Taliban Troops Enter Kabul

Kabul, 13 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Some Northern Alliance opposition troops reportedly entered Kabul early today after a retreat by Taliban forces. Western news agencies' (Reuters, AFP) reporters in the Afghan capital say hundreds of anti-Taliban troops moved in several hours after an advance guard entered the city at dawn after the Islamist militia soldiers fled.

Iranian state television reported that Abdullah Abdullah, foreign minister of the ousted Afghan government, and Northern Alliance military chief General Mohammad Qasim Fahim, had arrived in Kabul.

There were reports of sporadic shooting and some looting. It was not known who was responsible.

The Northern Alliance broke through Taliban lines north of Kabul yesterday, following U.S. air strikes on Taliban defenses there. But the United States had urged the Northern Alliance to wait for agreement on a broad-based government before entering the city.

The Northern Alliance is made up of mainly ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks. The Kabul population is mostly Pashtun from whom the Taliban drew their support.

Western correspondents are filing reports from Kabul this morning saying that Northern Alliance fighters have advanced to the center of the Afghan capital.

The reporters from Reuters and AFP say there were no signs of Taliban fighters on the streets of Kabul this morning. They say Taliban offices have been deserted and that some government buildings have been taken over by the Northern Alliance troops.

Detainees at Taliban-run prisons also reportedly have broken out of the jails after their Taliban guards fled during the night.

Columns of Taliban tanks and troop carriers had been seen heading south from Kabul toward Kandahar since sundown yesterday.

But Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah had promised the troops would honor U.S. President George W. Bush's request not to enter the capital so that a deal could be arranged on a multiethnic post-Taliban government.