Dadullah interview airs on al Jazeera (Afghanistan)

Afghan officials declared on Monday that Afghan security forces have surrounded nearly 200 Taliban fighters and key commanders


Mullah Dadullah, thought to be surrounded by Afghan and NATO forces in Uruzgan, appears in a videotaped interview with that al Jazeera aired on Wednesday. The authenticity of the actually interview taking place on Wednesday cannot be independently confirmed at this time. It's highly likely this is a part of a previously recorded interview that took place in early March. Al Jazeera says it will air more of the video over the next 24 hours.
Afghan officials declared on Monday that Afghan security forces have surrounded nearly 200 Taliban fighters and key commanders in Keshay village in Uruzgan's Chora district. Uruzgan provincial police chief Gen. Mohammad Qasim Khan told the AP that top Taliban military leaders, including Mullah Dadullah, met in Keshay on Saturday and were subsequently surrounded by Afghan security personnel. He indicated Afghan security was fully informed of the meeting prior to Saturday.
Taliban spokesmen have recently denied Dadullah's presence in Keshay.
According to unconfirmed reports, an unidentified Taliban leader was arrested and two to three vehicles, one packed with explosives, was also confiscated in Uruzgan. It remains unclear if this is related to the situation in Keshay.
According to the 'new' interview aired on al Jazeera, Dadullah says Osama bin Laden is alive and currently oversees militant activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also says Bin Laden personally ordered and managed the February suicide attack targeting US vice president Dick Cheney who was visiting Bagram airbase at the time.
13 people including a US and South Korean soldier died in the blast another 15, mostly civilians, were wounded.
Al Jazeera also aired footage from correspondent James Bays and his team who videotaped Taliban fighters in southern Helmand showing storerooms filled with land mines and explosives. Fighters also pranced on top of a charred hulk they claim is a destroyed NATO military vehicle.
The militants also indicate they now posses anti-air missiles which were not allowed to be videotaped. Taliban fighters and commanders often claim they have recently acquired such weapons but rarely offer tangible proof. Mullah Munibullah, purported Taliban commander in Nuristan, recently made a similar claim during a videotaped interview with NBC's Mushtaq Yusufzai.
The rate of NATO and civilian aircraft lost in Afghanistan due to such missiles has not spiked since the war began in 2001. However the Taliban occasionally shoot down aircraft, mostly civilian chartered Soviet-era transport helicopter.
The rate of Taliban attacks has risen steadily over the past year but the last two weeks has seen a tremendous surge in heavy combat.

Von: 26.04.07

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