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Report: Taliban Offers Opposition Deal

October 14, 2001

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ After a week of U.S. air attacks, Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban appealed Sunday to their foes in the opposition northern alliance to join ranks to fight the Americans, the Afghan Islamic Press reported.

The Islamabad-based agency quoted Taliban intelligence chief Qari Ahmedullah as saying opposition fighters who agreed to join in the war could keep their own weapons to kill Americans.

``This is now a question of our religion and country,″ Ahmedullah was quoted as saying. ``We will forget our past differences with those who join us now.″

The northern alliance is a coalition of ethnic minorities driven from power by the Taliban in 1996. Alliance fighters have made little headway against the larger and better-armed Taliban.

The United States launched air attacks Oct. 7 to force the Islamic militia to hand over Osama bin Laden, chief suspect in last month’s terrorist attacks in the United States.

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