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Disguised US Soldiers Already In Afghanistan Gulf Times (Doha)
Posted Sunday October 7, 2001 - 11:53:02 AM EDT
Tehran - Former Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said yesterday that dozens of US troops disguised as Afghans were in Afghanistan, including in a town visited by Osama bin Laden.
We are certain there are dozens of US soldiers conducting scouting information gathering missions in Afghanistan, especially in Kandahar, Hekmatyar said. Theyre disguised in Afghan clothes.
Hekmatyar, who has lived in exile in Tehran since the Taliban militia came to power five years ago, said he obtained his information through his contacts in Afghanistan.
Kandahar is the Taliban militias stronghold in southern Afghanistan, home to Taliban leader Mullah Mohamed Omar, and also where bin Laden has a residence, though bin Laden is now suspected to be hiding out in the mountains.
Hekmatyars comments added to reports that US as well as British and Australian special forces were already in Afghanistan ahead of US strikes aimed at uprooting bin Ladens Qaeda network, blamed for the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Hekmatyar, the head of the Hezb-i-eslami party, who once fought the Soviet occupation, said he expected the United States would attack Afghanistan soon from Uzbekistan to the north.
Like the Soviets, they will use General (Abdul Rashid) Dostam, an ethnic Uzbek who is one of the most powerful members in the loose alliance of anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar said.
And like the Soviets, they will end up by withdrawing, he added.
The Americans will bombard Kabul and many other cities, and set up a puppet regime that the people will not accept. It will not be viable, he said.
Though he said his group would fight US occupation, he said it was out of the question to form a coalition with the Taliban.
A member of the Pashtun ethnic majority, Hekmatyar was supported by Pakistan and the US Central Intelligence Agency during the anti-Soviet war. He founded the Islamist Hizb- i-Islami faction and was instrumental in the destruction of much of Kabul with shells and rockets.
Meanwhile, Rehmatullah Kakzada, the Talibans consul general in Pakistans southern city of Karachi, has demanded the United States make public the evidence that allegedly links bin Laden to last months terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Agencies
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), October 07, 2001