Afghan's Taleban cuts key opposition supply line
KABUL, July 29 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taleban, in fighting on Saturday, cut a vital opposition supply line in the north of the country, Afghan sources said.
They said Taleban forces had seized the old and new towns of Nahrin that link commander Ahmad Shah Masood's main stronghold of Panjsher valley with northern Takhar province on the border with Tajikistan.
Tajikistan offers Masood his last land route to the outside world.
Abdullah, a senior opposition spokesman speaking by satellite telephone from an unknown location in the country's north, confirmed the loss of the supply line and said fighting was continuing around Nahrin old town in Baghlan province.
Nahrin was briefly captured by the Taleban in past, but the opposition won it back. Abdullah said the opposition would attempt to recapture it again.
``Yes, it's loss can be seen as a big victory for the Taleban, but it could also be the start of serious problems for the Taleban as the people will not sit quietly,'' he told Reuters.
The fighting for Nahrin erupted early on Friday morning, a day after the United Nations said it wanted to boost efforts to seek peace and end two decades of conflict that has wrecked Afghanistan.
The latest development comes days after the Taleban arrested Bashir Baghlani, a key loyalist commander in Baghlan province, on charges of trying to switch sides back to the opposition.
The commander is now in custody in the Taleban's main stronghold in the southern city of Kandahar. Abdullah said many of Baghlani's fighters had already joined the opposition.
Baghlani changed sides to the Taleban in 1997 to save thousands of Taleban fighters from falling into the hands of the opposition.
Abdullah said that in addition to an unknown number of military casualties in the latest fighting, more than 50 civilians had been killed in Taleban air raids.
Taliban capture key northern town in new Afghan fighting
KABUL, July 28 (AFP) - Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia captured a key town in northern Baghlan province after fierce fighting with opposition forces Friday, Taliban officials here said.
Taliban troops seized Nahreen district after day-long fighting with the forces of opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood.
"We confirm the capture of Nahreen," a senior Taliban official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said a number of opposition soliders were captured. They were caught unawares when advancing Taliban soldiers ambushed their bunker.
The town was strategically important for Masood whose forces had partial control over Baghlan, located close to a small territory held by the Afghan opposition in the northeast of the country.
The private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said the retreating Masood loyalists left behind a large quantity of arms and ammunition.
Taliban troops also captured six tanks and several military vehicles and arrested at least 35 opposition fighters, it said.
Masood's main spokesman Abdullah (eds: one name) conceded the loss of Nahreen which controls access to the opposition stronghold of Panjshir valley.
He said the Taliban captured old and new parts of Nahreen city.
In a counter-attack Masood supporters recaptured the old city and fighting was still going on to flush out Taliban soldiers holding key high ground, he said.
The Pakistan-based AIP said at least 25 troops from both sides were killed while many more were wounded in the fighting which erupted at dawn.
A Taliban spokesman accused the opposition forces of launching the attack while Masood blamed the Taliban.
Abdullah earlier admitted setbacks in the Taliban's initial thrust.
The Taliban soldiers, backed by heavy artillery and aerial bombardment, have captured the strategic pass of Sheikh Jalal in the east and made a six-kilometer (about four miles) advance towards Nahreen town, he said.
The opposition side suffered civilian and military casualties, he added.
AIP said Nahreen fell after the Taliban forces overran two villages in the opposition-held area.
The clashes followed the arrest of a key Taliban ally, commander Mohammad Bashir Baghlani, for contacting the opposition alliance.
Taliban officials in Kabul said Thursday the commander had been arrested and transferred to the militia's southern Kandahar headquarters for interrogation.
Supporters of Baghlani, an ex-commander of the former Afghan premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have been disarmed by Taliban soldiers sent from Kabul, they said.
The new round of fighting came only a day after UN special envoy for Afghanistan Francesc Vendrell's visit to Kabul. Vendrell on Thursday expressed hope the warring sides would not renew fighting.
Taliban and Masood supporters earlier this month held two bouts of heavy fighting around the strategic Bagram airbase 50 kilometers north of here. Both sides suffered hundreds of casualties.
Abdullah described the latest fighting as the third round of the Taliban's summer offensive, for which he said they had been preparing for the past 10 days.
"They have brought 4,000 reinforcements from Kabul and other areas," he said.
Taleban slices opposition lifeline - BBC 7/29/00
Afghanistan's ruling Taleban is reported to have struck a major blow against opposition forces, by cutting off a vital international supply route.
An opposition spokesman said that Taleban forces had captured the town of Nahrin early on Saturday.
The town has been a crucial link for opposition leader Ahmad Shad Masood, providing a supply route for food and military supplies from the border with Tajikistan.
The news of its capture comes only two days after the United Nations said it wanted to boost peacemaking efforts to try to end the 20-year-old war.
The Taleban advance is expected to hit residents as well as military forces in opposition-controlled territory as food and fuel have, until now, been transported via Nahrin.
The only other possible supply route involves a long journey through the mountains of northern Afghanistan.
But opposition forces say they will fight to win the town back.
"Its loss can be seen as a big victory for the Taleban, but it could also be the start of serious problems for the Taleban as the people will not sit quietly," said an opposition spokesman.
He said at least 50 civilians had died in the battle for the town, which is reported to have involved Taleban fighter planes and heavy artillery as well as ground forces.
Fighting in the area around Nahrin was said to be continuing on Saturday morning.
The Taleban has not confirmed the town's capture. A spokesman said only that a change in the front-line had occurred and the situation was still vague.
BBC Kabul correspondent Kate Clark says the Taleban has, for the first time, become cautious of speaking about the war, since the UN said that any fresh offensive could spark new sanctions.
The Secretary General's representative to Afghanistan is currently visiting all sides with what he has called a new and secret idea for a peace settlement.
The Taleban, who have imposed strict Islamic law across 90% of Afghanistan, has been unable to quash the opposition in the remaining 10% of the country.
Taliban offer talks to opposition
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Taliban have expressed their readiness for talks with the opposition northern alliance provided Masood forces end fighting and give up rebellion against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
"We are ready to extend cooperation to all peace efforts. However, every peace initiative and negotiations depend on the stand of the opponents." Taliban Foreign Minister Maulvi Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel told the VOA
He said that during his recent meeting with the UN special envoy on Afghanistan, Frances Vedndrell, he made it clear to him that Taliban want good relations with all the neighbouring countries to removing their concerns, if any.
The UN envoy went to Kabul to push ahead his peace process in Afghanistan.
Mutawakel said that he told the UN envoy that the neighbouring countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan should hold talks with the authorities of the Islamic Emirate. "We are ready if they invite us for parleys any where."
Asked what assurance did he give to Vendrell with regard to removal of the concern expressed by the Shanghai-5 or the G-8 about the spread of terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism from Afghanistan, the minister said the Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad Said Muhammad Haqqani recently held talks with Chinese officials. "Beijings views are different from other countries. However, I request other countries not to rely on information being provided by others. Instead of sounding threats to Afghanistan, they should realize ground realities. They should also not work at the dictates of big power. They should not involve their neighbours in their internal problems." Mutawakel said.
He said that Taliban supreme leader Mulla Muhammad Omar has recently said that anyone having reservations and apprehension about the situation in Afghanistan are welcomed to visit and see by themselves the factual position.
On the issue of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, Mutawakel said that Taliban have put forward proposals and suggestions for amicable solution to the problem. "The problem is that the opposite side (US) does not recognize our system and judiciary. We have held talks with them in the past and one should not be disappointment with the scope of solution."
On the recent visits of Turkish and French envoys to Afghanistan, the minister said that the countries have diplomatic missions in Kabul. During their visits the delegations of these two countries held talks with Afghan authorities on matters of mutual interests. Citing an example, Mutawakel said that Turkey raised the issues of drug trafficking and transit trade and the Islamic Emirate allayed their concerns and apprehension in this regard.
Asked about Pakistans demand for the extradition of its nationals involved in different criminal and terrorist activities, Mutawakel said that the Islamic Emirate would definitely remove the concern of a brotherly Islamic country in this connection. "Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said, enjoy fraternal and brotherly relations. Pakistani people have a natural love for the Afghans. So all this demands to further strengthen the existing ties between the people of the two countries.
He said that the opposition northern alliance lacks harmony and unity in its ranks. "The problems would have been resolved long ago, had they enjoyed harmony and preferred the interests of the country. The war is prolonging due to foreign interference."
Taliban Rulers Ban Poppy Growing
By AMIR SHAH
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's Taliban rulers on Friday ordered a complete ban on growing poppy, the plant from which heroin is made and a major crop in the Central Asian nation.
It was not clear what prompted the order from the Taliban's Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, which was reported on Taliban-run Radio Shariat.
The order comes just two months before planting season for poppy growers in several provinces of Afghanistan, the largest opium-producing nation in the world. Opium is squeezed from the bulb of the crimson red poppy plant and made into heroin in hundreds of laboratories tucked in the hills of Afghanistan.
Omar threatened stiff penalties for farmers who ignored the ban and said poppy crops would be destroyed, according to Radio Shariat.
``Whoever grows poppies will be punished severely,'' Omar reportedly said. No details of punishments were reported.
In the past, the Taliban have refused to implement a complete ban on poppy growing, saying they need international money to help farmers grow alternate crops.
There was no immediate comment from the United Nations, which lauded the Taliban's orders last year to farmers to reduce production by one-third. While some farmers adhered to the order, many farmers had a reduced yield only because of the devastating drought which has ravaged much of southern and central Afghanistan.
The Taliban, who rule roughly 90 percent of Afghanistan, have imposed a harsh brand of Islamic law that outlaws most forms of entertainment and imposes strict controls on women.
The northern-based opposition, led by ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani, controls the remaining 10 percent of the country.
Taleban calls for total poppy ban in Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD, July 28 (Reuters) - The supreme Taleban leader Mullah Omar on Friday ordered a total ban on poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium which is processed into morphine and then heroin.
In a statement carried on Taleban-controlled radio, Omar said farmers should stop growing poppy in the growing season starting next spring.
``Anyone resorting to cultivating will be punished by the Islamic Emirate and their farming destroyed,'' the radio quoted Omar's order as saying.
It was the first time the Taleban had called for a total ban on the cultivation of poppy.
Last year, Omar issued an edict calling for poppy cultivation to be cut by one-third, but that decree was greeted by scepticism by Western anti-drug experts because Afghanistan's opium crop more than doubled last year to 4,600 tonnes from 2,100 in 1998.
Before Friday's ban, the Taleban had demanded international assistance for outlawing poppy growth, saying Afghanistan's wrecked economy had forced poor farmers to grow the lucrative crop.
In an article published this week in a Kandahar-based magazine, Omar was quoted as saying: ``As we have only limited means to utilise towards this end (to eliminate poppy growth), we consider it the responsibility of the international community to assist us in this matter.''
Anti-drug experts say that Afghanistan has far surpassed Myanmar, formerly Burma, as the world's largest producer of opium, accounting for more than 75 percent of output.
But opium output was expected to plunge this year because of Afghanistan's worst drought in three decades, which has dried up poppy fields in the eastern and southern regions of the country.
Tajik leader says Afghanistan main threat to peace
DUSHANBE, July 28 (Reuters) - The five states of ex-Soviet Central Asia cannot hope for stability while the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan is unresolved, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov said in an interview published on Friday.
Rakhmonov also told the official Narodnaya Gazeta that Tajikistan, which shares several hundred kilometres of border with Afghanistan, would continue its close relationship with Russia, which helps police its southern flank.
``The Afghan problem requires immediate attention. As long the conflict in Afghanistan is not resolved, there can be no stable system of regional security in the whole of Central Asia,'' Rakhmonov said.
He said fighting between the Taleban Islamist militia and rebels in northern Afghanistan as well as the drug trade had already led to security crises such as last year's invasion of southern Kyrgyzstan by hundreds of radical Moslem gunmen.
Rakhmonov said close ties with Russia would remain a priority for his country of six million people.
``Our strategic partnership with Russia is very important for us. Our geopolitical and economic interests coincide -- in Central Asia as well as throughout the former Soviet Union,'' Rakhmonov said.
Russia has a force of 11,000 border guards patrolling Tajikistan's drug-infested border with Afghanistan and in 1997 helped end the Tajik civil war between Rakhmonov's secular forces and the Islamist-led opposition.
It also has maintained a force to help keep the peace in the impoverished mountainous state.
Russia as well as other Central Asian leaders accuse the Taleban of training militants to stir up instability in their countries, including in the largely-Moslem Caucasus republic of Chechnya. The Taleban has denied the allegations.
The Taliban - an everyday tale of simple country boys
By RORY MCCARTHY in Islamabad - SMH 7/29/00
The Taliban has launched a new magazine which styles the movement as "a simple band of rural youths" and quotes its leader as saying that despite the threat of new sanctions against Afghanistan, he would never hand over Osama bin Laden to face terrorism charges in the west.
In another article, headlined "Confessions of an Arab spy", a Syrian, 22, claims to have been sent to infiltrate the Taliban in February on behalf of US and Israeli intelligence agencies.
He says he was blackmailed by a recruiter with money and sex after being "strongly affected" one night while in the United Arab Emirates watching a Sony PlayStation game.
He was told his contact would be a woman named Florence at the United States Embassy in Islamabad. "She was described to me as a fat woman who wears glasses. She specialises in espionage and speaks seven languages, including Arabic," he writes.
On bin Laden, the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Omar, says he refused to give in to US pressure to surrender the terrorist suspect. The Taliban regard bin Laden as a hero for his help in bankrolling the guerilla fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
His financial resources continue to aid Kabul's new masters; they also rather enjoy the fact that his presence infuriates the Americans. The Saudi millionaire, long exiled by his country, is wanted by a US court for the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago which killed more than 200.
"Extraditing Osama bin Laden, who made jihad [holy war]) against the Communists for the duration of their occupation of Afghanistan, is tantamount to leaving a pillar of our religion," the magazine quotes Mullah Omar as saying.
If there were enough evidence against bin Laden, he says, the Taliban would try him in an Islamic court. The US says it has already provided sufficient evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the bombings. In November the United Nations Security Council imposed financial and aviation sanctions on Afghanistan for failing to turn in bin Laden. More embargo measures are being considered.
The Taliban magazine, published in English, is billed as a monthly. The publication, titled the Islamic Emirate, says its aim is to counter "misinformation from Zionist media" and opposition to the Taliban from the US.
The magazine carries a series of articles about Islam and Afghanistan.
In an outline of the war-torn 1990s in Afghanistan, it describes the Taliban as "a simple band of dedicated youths from rural Kandahar".
Under Mullah Omar, the Taliban have taken over most of the country in the past decade and enforced strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
Women have become virtual prisoners in their homes and are banned from jobs. Public amputations and executions have been used against criminals.
Arrested US spy discloses his mission in Afghanistan
Islamabad, July 29, IRNA -- An Arab spy, arrested by Taliban, has
confessed that he was working for Israel and the United States to
gather information about Osama bin Laden and other Arabs in
The 22-year old Syrian, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razaaq Jankoo was quoted
by a newly launched magazine of the Taliban as saying that he was
recruited by some Arabs and an American national in the United Arab
The monthly, "The Islamic Emirate," which Taliban claim to have
launched for effectively responding international criticism of the
militia, published the full interrogation of the arrested spy in the
shape of an interview.
Abdul Rahim said that he had been a student of Islamic Law in the
Ra'as-ul-Kheemah University of the United Arab Emirates when his two
university mates, Najib Abdul Wahid al-Dhimary and Faisal Saud
al-Qasimy blackmailed him into working for an Israeli agent, working
in the US embassy in UAE.
According to him, the agent, Shamoyel Anty, along with a Lebanese
national Abdullah Shukry al-Hijaar and head of the recruits, in the US
embassy in UAE, Hajoob Haseeb trapped the young spy after getting him
sexually assaulted by Najib and Faisal and threatening him to expose
him before his father, through a video film, if he did not comply with
Abdul Rahim said that after his recruitment, he came to Jalalabad
via Pakistan with the help of an Afghan, whom he had befriended while
he was in a UAE jail for not possessing passport.
In Jalalabad, he said, he was handed over to a Taliban official,
Mulla Abdul Salam Rocketi, who sent him to a guest house in Kabul.
He said in Kabul he was to be received by another US agent, a
Kurdish Iraqi, whose real name was Arkaan but changed as al-Harky
and then as Islam.
Islam sent him to a seminary for being enrolled but he was
suspected when he insisted that he wanted to go to Pakistan for a
telephone call to his family and also for making marriage.
He said that in fact he had to go to Pakistan to report to a lady,
Florence, working in the American embassy in Islamabad.
The spy said that he had been promised a MasterCard worth $50,000,
on completion of his mission.
Abdul Rahim said that the American-Israeli agent in UAE had
already sent 22 spies to Afghanistan, before him, out of whom four
were arrested by Taliban while there is no information about the
hereabouts of the rest of them. AHM/MD/KS
Afghanistan drought could lead to another exodus
Imtiaz Gul reports on the worsening drought situation in Afghanistan
KANDAHAR, July 28 (The Friday Times - Pak.) - The drought that has devastated Afghanistan's once-lush pastures and farmlands has relegated Daud, 42, from a proud owner of land and cattle to a petty wage slave.
"With 120 sheep, a few goats and some donkeys, I was my own master. Now I have to find work at the brick kiln across the road for a daily wage of 45,000 Afghanis (75 cents)," Daud told TFT while sitting under an old tent made up of countless patches of cloth and presenting a mosaic of many colours.
With temperatures soaring as high as 47 degrees celcius and strong furnace-like winds slapping it, the "mosaic" tent perched on a plain some 3 kilometres north of the southern town of Kandahar now seems to be Daud's permanent home.
Daud's eight children and his mother look on as he recounts what befell him and seven other Kochi families from the Registan (literally, desert) area. For two successive years the area has received no rain. Streams and "karezes" - centuries' old underground irrigation channels - have dried up and pastures lost whatever little grass and bush was left for the animals to graze.
Daud's smiling, stocky mother, in her 70s, appeared undeterred by the fateful loss of the family's livestock. Neither did she know whether they would again be able to restart their march between Registan and the pastures in the central Ghazni province.
"We lived in Makkur around this time of the year," she said, "I am not sure whether this settled life is better than the one we lived before."
Makkur, a small district of the Ghazni province, is still considerably better in terms of greener landscape and water availability. The Dahla Dam, one of the main sources of water supply and power for the city of Kandahar, tells the story. Located some 50 kilometres north of Kandahar, the dam has been reduced to a few small pools of water as its main source - the Arghandab river, too, has far less water to offer for the reservoir.
Once overflowing with water, and a big picnic attraction for many Kandaharis because of its abundant flora and fauna, the dam has shrunk so much that even Taleban guards deployed there have to travel a few kilometres to fetch drinking water.
The United Nations and other agencies are mobilising efforts to bring relief to the drought-hit Afghanistan, but by their own account will not be able to provide for everyone. The world organisation has also begun implementation of a plan that envisages drilling over 700 wells in the drought-hit Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul, Helmand and Nimroz provinces.
The World Food Programme, currently at loggerheads with the Taleban over the recruitment of some 600 women for a socio-economic survey in Kabul, will likely be stretched to its limits again as far as distribution of food and seeds in the affected areas are concerned. Every time there is a disaster in Afghanistan, it is been the NGO sector - the UN and ICRC or other NGOs - that comes to redeem the situation anyway.
The WFP warned on May 2 that the situation could get worse. "There are no walking skeletons yet, but without an adequate response, thousands of Afghans in the southern provinces would face a merciless summer after having lost almost all their rain-fed wheat crops and up to 80 percent of their livestock due to the lack of precipitation," Mike Sackett, WFP's Afghanistan country director was quoted as saying at a press conference after a three-day inspection visit to the provinces of Zabul and Kandahar in the first week of May.
Even with the new aid, Afghans will probably end up with a shortage of more than a million tons of food. Officials predict that the worst could come this fall with another failed harvest. If there were no more-than-usual rains and snowfall in winters, this would spell a real disaster for much of the southern and southwestern Afghanistan, warns a UN report. "We will be able to help only the most needy and poor hungry people with food, but WFP can only do so much. There is a clear need for drinking water, health services and other technical support for the worst hit communities to help them support themselves over the coming months," Sackett told reporters in Islamabad.
"It is a divine test," say hapless Afghanis the majority of whom has become fatalistic and is too busy with the pressures of earning their two meals a day to think of measures that may rectify the situation in the longer run.
According to a latest UN report, the cereal deficit over the next year would be more than 2.3 million metric tons following two failed crops in two years in many regions. The report estimates that in all 8 to 10 million Afghans have been affected by the drought, requiring the world community to respond urgently irrespective of what they think of the Taleban.
Equally affected, says the report, are parts of Pakistan - mostly in the adjoining Balochistan province - where 2.2 milion people and 16 million livestock have suffered.
Even in Quetta, the impact of few rains is clearly visible: apple trees are pale, but the fruit has already almost ripened, much earlier than usual because of heat. Vast stretches of cultivatable lands are lying barren in areas between Chaman and Quetta.
Conditions in Afghanistan may trigger a fresh influx into Pakistan, fear UN and NGO officials. Their only hope is that more than usual rains in the fall may help the crops and also raise the water table in most areas.
The sinking underground water table, scant rains and little snowfalls have turned what used to be a fertile and colder region dotted with lush-green fields and meadows into barren stretches of land.
Daud's case typifies the fate of thousands of Kochi families - the nomads that roam from south to north and south to northeast in summers and descend to plains in winter.
Hundreds of them have been repatriated to the outskirts of Kandahar, Kabul, Jalalabad (eastern Afghanistan) and other areas where there is still some water available.
An animal market at Sange-Saar, some 35 kilometres west of Kandahar, also highlights the impact of the drought that Kochis and farmers across the region have been suffering for over two years now. The agri-land in the region has been reduced to wasteland. Dry and yellow grape vinyards between Gahzni and Kandahar and further to the west of the city simply explain the calamity that has hit tens of thousands of farmers and Kochis across Afghanistan.
Taleban authorities have moved a few hundred Kochi and farmer families from the Registan area as well as the plains between Ghazni and Kandahar to the outskirts of Kandahar, the headquarters of the Taliban movement.
One reason for the dry weather is the massive water-logging that has taken place in much of Afghanistan. In connivance with the timber mafia of Pakistan, Afghani traders have been cutting trees indiscriminately. This is in addition to the pillage the forests have been subjected to because of the 20-year-old warfare and civil strife.
The drought conditions are most likely to engulf the whole of south and southwestern Afghanistan in a couple of years in the absence of any reforestation which again will take years - even if started now - to replenish the fast depleting forests, say experts. They point to the need to take short- and long-term relief measures immediately. However, the situation is compounded by the UN sanctions against the Taleban government. Meanwhile, the human suffering continues.
More than 57,000 Afghan refugees return from Iran
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (AFP) - More than 57,000 Afghans have returned from Iran since a six-month voluntary repatriation programme began on April 8, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday.
In a statement in Geneva, the UNHCR said 4,680 Afghans went home last week under the programme, which is designed to repatriate 100,000 refugees.
The UNHCR says there are 1.4 million Afghans in Iran. The Iranian authorities estimate that half of them are there illegally.
The programme allows Afghans without identity papers to seek asylum in Iran within six months or submit a request to go home.
As of last week, the UNHCR and the Iranian authorities had jointly screened 9,112 claims for asylum, made on behalf of almost 46,000 individuals, the statement said. A total of 3,180 cases had been accepted, 3,849 cases had been rejected and 3,268 were pending, it said.
Investigation into London's alleged Afghan criminal - BBC 7/29
Britain has said it's investigating allegations that a former Afghan warlord responsible for serious human rights abuses is living in London and seeking political asylum.
Earlier this week, a BBC television programme Newsnight alleged that Commander Zardad was living in London under a false name.
The programme said he and his followers looted aid convoys and raped and murdered civilians during the early 1990s.
The British government said its options could include extraditing him to face possible trial in Afghanistan or even trying him in the UK itself. A BBC correspondent says human rights groups are likely to oppose his return to Afghanistan on the grounds that he could be sentenced to death.
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
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