Taliban request safe passage from Kunduz - report


Taliban fighters surrounded in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz told the besieging Northern Alliance today they want to withdraw peacefully with safe passage guaranteed by the UN, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said.

Commander Dadullah, former chief of Taliban forces in Mazar-i-Sharif, and Commander Fazil, who had headed the militia in northern Takhar province, had presented the proposal to pull their forces peacefully out of Kunduz, the Pakistan-based AIP said.

They had requested that the United Nations play a role in ensuring their safe passage, AIP said.

Meanwhile a British newspaper reported that Osama bin Laden's elite al-Qaeda guard have slaughtered Taliban troops to prevent them surrendering to the Northern Alliance.

Civilians escaping the city told the Sunday Telegraphthat a foreign al-Qaeda commander had ordered the massacre of 150 Afghan Talibs who wanted to defect.

Mr Mohammed Ibrahim who escaped yesterday from the city, told the paper: "A commander who was foreign gave the order for 150 local Afghan Taliban to be killed because they wanted to surrender. They showed them no mercy," he added.

He told the paper the massacre took place on Friday and followed the defection of 1,000 Afghan Talibs under General Mirai Nasery.

Al-Qaeda soldiers had arrested more than 100 prominent Kunduz citizens and were holding them hostage to stall an alliance attack.

Ibrahim also said the Taliban leadership and al-Qaeda were refusing to allow civilians to leave.