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Taliban Fighters in Kunduz Surrender

After days of heavy fighting, about 1,000 Taliban fighters in the embattled city of Kunduz hand themselves over to the Northern Alliance.


The battle for Kunduz draws to an end

The fierce battle for Kunduz is over. Hundreds of Taliban fighters are reported to be laying down their arms. Several hundred more are said to be streaming out of the besieged northern city on Saturday in dozens of vehicles to surrender to Northern Alliance forces.

"This process of surrendering has started. This is the first group. This will be continuing," said Amanullah Khan, a northern alliance spokesman.

General Rashid Dostum, one of the main alliance commanders in northern Afghanistan, says the surrender of Taliban forces inside the city of Kunduz has been arranged for Sunday.

The deal would allow Afghan Taliban soldiers to surrender their weapons and return to their home provinces in the south.

But there would be no safe passage for the foreign mercenaries among the Taliban fighters. Their fate remains unknown. They weren’t among those giving themselves up. The Northern Alliance's special loathing for these foreigners has given them little incentive to surrender and prompted fears of a bloodbath.

The Taliban soldiers were seen shaking hands with Northern alliance troops and would be released after surrendering their weapons, CNN said.

The Northern Alliance forces had vowed to resume an all-out assault if no deal was struck by Saturday afternoon.

Husaini, commander of the Alliance's front east of Kunduz, was quoted as saying that those surrendering would be "treated in a completely legal fashion". "There will be no reprisals and no shooting under any circumstances," he said.

Meanwhile America continued its offensive against the last remaining Taliban strongholds in the south. US planes dropped 15,000 pound "Daisy Cutter" bomb on the militia's stronghold of Kandahar.

Bush flayed for his proposal of military tribunals

President Bush has come under scathing attack for his suggestion earlier this week that foreign terrorism suspects be tried before military tribunals.

A leading international jurist and South African judge, Richard Goldstone has criticized U.S. plans saying there was no guarantee the accused would get fair trials. Goldstone, who was chief prosecutor for the UN war crimes tribunal said Bush’s plan amounted to "second- or third-class" justice.

"I think it would be bad for the United States to deprecate its own court system, its own insistence over decades and centuries on fair and due process," Goldstone said. It would undermine the very values that the US stands for, he believes.

"More importantly it would lack any credibility in the international community. There would always be doubt as to whether the guilt of bin Laden or any of the other people tried in secret has been established."

Earlier this week, Bush defended the plan for military tribunals as "absolutely the right thing to do."

"We're fighting a war against the most evil kinds of people, and I need to have that extraordinary option at my fingertips," he said.

The planned tribunals, which have drawn criticism from across the US political spectrum, would be staffed by military officers who could convict suspects by a two-thirds majority decision.

Trials could be held in secret. The composition of the courts and their procedures would be determined by the US.

Goldstone is currently chairman of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, a body set up on the initiative of Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson to analyze events before, during and after the Kosovo war.

He previously suggested that an international court convened by the UN Security Council should try anyone arrested for masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

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