Taliban Leader Reportedly in Sight | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 01.01.2002
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Taliban Leader Reportedly in Sight

Afghan and US armed forces have reportedly closed in on Mullah Omar's location. An errant bombing run reportedly kills 100 civilians.


A US Marine watches the line from his bunker in Kandahar.

Afghan armed forces and what witnesses said was a large number of American marines have reportedly zeroed in on the location of the elusive Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

Officials said that Omar might be hiding in the mountains near Baghran, 100 miles northwest of Kandahar. An eyewitness told various media that helicopters carrying marines and accompanied by a B25 bomber and a fighter jet left the US force’s temporary airport south of Kandahar Monday evening headed northwest.

An anti-Taliban intelligence chief told Reuters that he suspects Omar to be hiding among villagers in Helmand, a district northwest of Kandahar.

"We have told them to give us Omar, but no ultimatum has been issued," said Haji Gullalai.

If force was needed, Gullalai said he and other tribal leaders had assembled a force of more than 2,000 to attack the village.

Afghans say civilians died in bombing attack

Displeasure with the United States was high at the beginning of the new year. Afghan civilians say US bombing killed at least 100 villagers in east Afghanistan on Sunday. The United States denied the report, saying that the target hit by B-1B and B-52 bombers was an al Qaeda terrorist camp.

A Reuters camerman traveling to the scene on Monday, discovered bits of flesh and hair and pools of blood. But there was no other evidence or indication of the attacks.

The deaths, if they turn out to be true, would mark the second time one US bombing un has cost a large number of civilian lives.

In December, witnesses reported 60 civilians, among them tribal leaders heading to the inaguration of the new government, died in an errant bombing run by US armed forces.

Though local Afghan leaders and government officials called for an end to the bombing campaign, interim government leader Hamid Karzai said the US strikes should continue for as long as it takes to root out al Qaeda terrorists.