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US Intensifies Military Pressure on Taliban

After the fall of Kunduz, US marines land near Kandahar in hopes of pushing the Taliban out of their last remaining stronghold.

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The Northern Alliance now rules Kunduz.

The US has launched a new phase in the seven-week-old war on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda forces. Pentagon sources said several hundred marines were dropped from helicopters southwest of Kandahar. The southern city is the powerbase of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Military aircraft are expected to bring hundreds more US ground forces to the region. Within the next few days, the number of marines in the area should reach 1, 000, the Pentagon sources said.

Taliban defectors who have fled to Pakistan claim Kandahar is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world. The city is reportedly defended by up to 5,000 foreign fighters and 12,000 regular Taliban soldiers.

Prisoner Uprising Leaves Many Dead

The prisoner uprising of bin Laden loyalists near Mazar-i-Sharif reportedly continued on Monday. The prisoners had smuggled weapons into the 19th century Qala-i-Janghi fortress, disarmed their guards and then attempted to flee.

US warplanes rushed into action on Sunday to help quell the revolt. Hundreds of foreign pro-Taliban fighters were killed, including supporters from Pakistan, Chechnya and Arab countries.

But according to Northern Alliance fighters, several prisoners have now barricaded themselves in a tower and are firing rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Bloodbath in Kunduz

The Taliban's final stronghold in the north, Kunduz, finally fell to Northern Alliance forces on Sunday after days of fighting and chaotic surrender negotiations. "All of Kunduz is now under our control," said a Northern Alliance commander.

Several hundred foreign pro-Taliban volunteers were killed in the battle for Kunduz. Thousands of Taliban fighters surrendered. But the remainder have laid down their weapons.

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