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What's happened to the Taliban

01:00 Fri 29th Mar 2002 |

asks dogbreath:
A.
After fleeing Operation Anaconda - which the Taliban saw as a victory because they suffered few casualties - many of the Taliban activists are now based in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province.#

Q. What are they doing there
A.
Many Taliban leaders - including Mullah Muhammad Kabir, a former Defence Minister and Governor of Nangarhar province, Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi, the former Education Minister, and Jalal Uddin Haqqani, the former supreme commander of the Taliban forces, are all there trying to rebuild the Taliban network. They are planning retaliation against the coalition forces.

Q. What kind of retaliation are they planning
A.
A senior Taliban official, Maulvi Mehmood Din, told The Times that they have 300 suicide bombers ready to attack US installations in Afghanistan, and that guerrilla actions would get more intensive in May.

Recently, they have attacked coalition forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Q. So they haven't given up then
A.
Not at all. Thousands of lower rank Taliban officials are living in Pakistani refugee camps and many make forays into Afghanistan to plan their comeback, despite the border being sealed and the heavy security along it.

Q. Do they still have support in Afghanistan
A.
The Taliban activists are hoping that will get support from the Pashtun because they believe that the Pashtun would not accept a foreign-backed government. The Pashtun are the main tribe in Pakistan's Northwest frontier province and make up about half the population of Afghanistan.


The Taliban also has the support of Pakistani Islamic militant groups who fought along with them.

Q. Is the Taliban�confident that they will return
A.
Yes. They intend to be back in charge of Afghanistan, and claim to have an arms stockpile that will last them for years.

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By Sheena Miller


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