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Agreement on Kandahar removes 'major obstacle'

Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai  

(CNN) -- Fears of inter-tribal armed conflict for control of the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar subsided Sunday with word of an agreement on the city's new leadership, anti-Taliban officials said.

Gul Agha, a former governor of Kandahar province, will return to that position pending the approval of Afghanistan's new interim government, which assumes power December 22.

Longtime mujahedeen leader Mullah Naqibullah, who accepted Taliban ruler Mullah Mohammed Omar's surrender Friday, turned down Kandahar's top military position, sources said.

The tentative agreement "removed a major obstacle in Afghanistan," said the interim government's leader, Hamid Karzai.

But Karzai said Afghanistan would experience "some chaos" in the coming months. (Full story)

"We have to establish a fresh order and, until that comes, there will be here and then some difficulty."

Meanwhile, U.S. and anti-Taliban forces continued their hunt for Omar and Osama bin Laden.

Fighting was intense Sunday near Tora Bora, where bin Laden was suspected to be directing 1,000 al Qaeda fighters against opposition forces and under a heavy barrage of U.S. airstrikes in the mountainous region. (Full story)

CNN's Brent Sadler reports al Quada fighters are no pushovers in the fight for Tora Bora (December 8)

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CNN's Miles O'Brien talks to Nic Robertson about the jockeying and concerns over who will control Kandahar (December 8)

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Latest developments

• Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that a videotape of bin Laden obtained by the United States is "one more piece of evidence confirming the man's responsibility" for the September 11 attacks. Cheney, interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," said the tape shows bin Laden being interviewed or meeting with another individual, apparently a cleric, and talking about the attacks. (Full story)

• Ethnic Uzbek warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum will back Afghanistan's new interim government, according to a State Department official traveling with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. A few days ago, Dostum had said he wouldn't back the new government because his faction was not fairly represented.

• Britain would hand over bin Laden for trial in the United States only if assurances were given that he would not face the death penalty, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said Sunday. (Full story)

• John Walker, the American who fought with the Taliban and was captured after a prison uprising near Mazar-e Sharif, has provided useful information to U.S. authorities, according to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Richard Myers told Fox News Sunday that Walker is not a prisoner of war, but a process was going on to determine his final status. (Full story)

• An Uzbek train loaded with wheat rolled across a bridge into Afghanistan Sunday afternoon, the first time in nearly five years the bridge has been used. The aid shipment across the Amu Darya river -- the first of many planned for the next few days -- is a major development in Afghanistan's post-Taliban history. (Full story)

• The body of Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, 32, one of three Green Berets killed by "friendly fire" when a bomb missed its target last week in southern Afghanistan, will return to the United States Monday, an Army official said Sunday.

• British journalist Robert Fisk has been attacked and beaten by a mob of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Fisk, 55, a foreign correspondent for the London-based Independent newspaper, was assaulted when his car broke down on the road between the border city of Quetta and Charnan. (Full story)

• Pashtun tribal leaders said Saturday they do not know the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, who was in Kandahar on Friday but had left by the following morning. Karzai said Omar expressed no remorse for the suffering he had brought to Afghanistan and should be brought to trial to face "international justice." (Full story)

• Three U.S. special forces troops killed in a friendly fire accident in Afghanistan this week should be remembered as heroes who saved Afghan lives, a wounded comrade said. (Full story)

• Public tours of the U.S. Capitol resumed on Saturday for the first time since the September 11 attacks. "We constantly re-evaluate the tours and security within the Capitol complex and we feel the time's right now. We can maintain adequate security and still ensure the safety of our visitors within the Capitol building," said Capitol Hill Police spokesman Lt. Dan Nichols. (Full story)

• The death toll from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center has been revised down to 3,050, the New York Office of Emergency Management said Saturday. The number of missing was put at 582, the number of confirmed dead was 487 and the number of death certificates issued was 1,981. It was initially estimated that as many as 6,500 were killed when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the twin towers.


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