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25 American troops hit, claims Haqqani

October 22, 2001

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 21: The Afghan minister for frontiers and tribal affairs, Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani has said that he had not held any talks in connection with the setting up of an interim or broad-based government in Afghanistan. He said there was no rift in the ranks of Taliban militia.

In a meeting with Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of JUI and convener of Defence of Afghanistan Council at the latter’s Akora Khattak residence on Sunday, Haqqani claimed that as many as 25 US commandos were killed or injured in a clash with Taliban forces during their landing near Kandahar the other day. The dead and injured were airlifted by the Americans, he said.

Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former prominent guerrilla commander of Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan Yunas Khalis group, has been in the news for the last few days as his name has been cited along with Afghan foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil to have presumably held secret talks with Pakistani officials and representatives of other groups.

Earlier, it was reported that Haqqani had left for Afghanistan after completion of first round of negotiations with the quarters concerned.

According to a press release issued here by the DCA, Maulana Haqqani along with some other Taliban representatives, in an hour-long meeting, informed Mualana Samiul Haq about the situation created by the US air attacks on Afghanistan and took him into confidence on the future line of action.