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Northern Alliance: U.S. strikes accurate

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of the Northern Alliance opposition group  


(CNN) -- Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is the foreign minister of the Northern Alliance, which is fighting to overthrow the Taliban militia's control of Afghanistan. He spoke to CNN shortly after sunrise from Northern Afghanistan and discussed the U.S.-British air strikes the night before.

CNN: Are you happy with what happened today?

ABDULLAH ABDULLAH: Of course. The strike started at nine o'clock p.m. local time and as far as we understand, the last time that targets in Kabul were hit was three o'clock in the morning, by jets flying over Kabul. And the targets: military bases of Taliban in different cities like Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Maraz-e-Sharif and Konduz. That means (targets) all over around Afghanistan were hit, including two terrorist camps at least -- one in Jalalabad, an eastern city in Afghanistan and one in Kandahar, a southern city in Afghanistan.

We understand, so far -- the feedback we have had so far -- the targets have been hit accurately in Kabul, in Kandahar, especially in Maraz-e-Sharif; in almost in all cities.

CNN: Dr. Abdullah, do you fear at all the loss of any people in the Northern Alliance through friendly fire of some kind?

ABDULLAH: Up to now, there haven't been reports about civilian casualties or losses of our forces. The cities near the front line have not been struck. So far, it has been major targets and major cities in Afghanistan. Yesterday we had warned the civilian population in Kabul to keep away from military targets and that's what they have done, as far as we understand. Fortunately there haven't been any reports of civilian casualties so far.

CNN: Is your own goal, Dr. Abdullah, to see the Taliban wiped out, is that the goal of your group?

ABDULLAH: Yes, of course, if the goal of the operation is to eradicate terrorism, that cannot be done without wiping out the Taliban from Afghanistan. After all, it was the Taliban who have harbored terrorist groups for so many years and comforted them and facilitated their activities in Afghanistan, in the region and beyond the region.

CNN: Has the United States and its allies kept you informed of what has been going on? Did you know this was going to happen before it happened?

ABDULLAH: Yes we did. We did, a few hours prior to the strike, know roughly ... that the strike was imminent.

CNN: If the goal is accomplished -- if the Taliban is wiped out or significantly reduced -- what next?

ABDULLAH: I think peace will be established in Afghanistan, and the international community should support the people of Afghanistan to achieve its final goal, which is giving the people of Afghanistan the right of self-determination. We are ready to work with all Afghan groupings who share two principals -- of peace, and by peace I mean just and acceptable peace; and the right of self-determination for the people of Afghanistan.

The construction of Afghanistan the rehabilitation of Afghanistan will be a necessary step afterward.

CNN: Is your group united?

ABDULLAH: Yes of course, we were united -- before 11 September -- on September ninth, when one of our heroes was assassinated by the same terrorist network, by Osama bin Laden's people. And we remain all united after that assassination attempt and after the events of September 11th. That's how we have been able to hope against Taliban and deadly terrorist groups for so many years.

CNN: Does the Taliban control bin Laden or does bin Laden control the Taliban?

ABDULLAH: In recent years it was mainly terrorist groups which were in control of the situation in Afghanistan, foreign friends of Taliban which were in control of Afghanistan. But they both supported each other, they both supported the interests of each other. Osama's people, for instance, were fighting against us in Afghanistan to get rid of us, to get rid of resistance in Afghanistan, so Afghan territory would be in the control of the Taliban and terrorist groups.

On the other side, Taliban had provided terrorists the facilities and they were facilitating their activities in Afghanistan, so they were both benefiting from cooperating with each other.






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