The Taliban's power bases : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

War on terrorism

The Taliban's power bases Oct 7 2001

By Danny Kemp, PA The Taliban's network of power extends from a triangle of strategic cities -Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad.

Most of Osama bin Laden's estimated 55 terrorist training camps in Afghanistan are thought to be based in or near these three locations.

As the capital, Kabul is obviously a major target as it is home to a garrison of troops and has a number of Taliban buildings.

The city's airport is also likely to be hit as it is possible the Taliban have moved some of their meagre force of helicopters and MiG fighters there.

A large number of bin Laden's training camps are believed to be on the outskirts of Kabul, although many may have been mothballed.

But Western intelligence suggests most of the Taliban leadership has left the city, fearing it is too easy a target.

Few of the sites there are likely to be of much value to the US and British, it is thought.

Perhaps more important to the Taliban is Kandahar, the spiritual capital of the regime and its headquarters in the southern desert.

Kandahar is the home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the reclusive, one-eyed Taliban leader, who is said to have visited Kabul only twice.

It is also believed to be the site of a key bin Laden base along with housing units built for those linked to the terrorist.

Bin Laden was at one stage reported to be under house arrest in the city, although he is not thought to be there now.

In recent days the Taliban has appeared to concentrate its defences around the city in anticipation of an attack.

The frontier town of Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, is vital because of its proximity to Pakistan's north-east border.

It functions as a conduit for the fanatical Muslims who have crossed over from Pakistan to become the Taliban's new recruits.

There is a special headquarters in the city to co-ordinate their activities, located in a nondescript office block in a Jalalabad suburb and disguised as a religious charity.

At least two senior officials working with the security network in Jalalabad have also been replaced in the past two days, according to a Taliban official, indicating that preparations have been made for an attack.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 08, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ