Taleban told 'surrender or die'
Sunday, 2 December, 2001, 21:01 GMT BBC News
Intensive strikes on Kandahar continue
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has warned Taleban forces defending Kandahar, their last stronghold, that they will be killed if they do not surrender.
I guess one will do whatevef it is necessary to do, if people will not surrender then they've made their choice
Mr Rumsfeld told the NBC network that US military in Afghanistan would do "whatever is necessary" to flush them out, warning that the task would be "particularly dirty and unpleasant".
And as US warplanes continued intensive strikes against Kandahar, local forces opposed to the Taleban said they were still advancing near the city.
Tribal fighters say they are within three kilometres (two miles) of the airport, but are meeting strong resistance from hundreds of foreign Taleban fighters entrenched there.
"The Arabs are really fighting, they know they have no choice, they are fighting to the death," Khalid Pashtoon, a spokesman for Gul Agha Sherzai, the former mujahideen governor of Kandahar, told Reuters by satellite phone.
A prominent Pashtun tribal leader, Hamid Karzai, told the BBC on Saturday he had been trying to persuade senior Taleban officials by telephone to give themselves up.
Rumsfeld: Warned of casualties ahead
Many residents, including Taleban officials, have already fled Kandahar.
But Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has told his fighters that there is no question of surrender, and no need for negotiations.
About 1,000 US Marines are now in place at a desert airfield near the city, but there are no signs of a preparation for an assault.
As well as Kandahar, the key border town of Spin Boldak remains in Taleban hands.
Anti-Taleban forces say they have been holding talks with the Taleban about handing over control of Spin Boldak, but there has been no sign of any progress.
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