Taliban bargaining on 18 US soldiers

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 07:59:32 -0000

ISLAMABAD: While the American Special Forces are continuing their
efforts to locate the 18 US soldiers taken hostage by the Taliban and
AlQaida fighters during the most intense fighting in the snow covered
peaks of the Arma region of the eastern Paktia Province, bargaining
efforts are going on at highest level between the Americans and the
Taliban who now are demanding the safe release of more than 350 Taliban
and non Afghan prisoners languishing in X-Ray Cells in Cuba. 

Reliable and informed sources have told The Frontier Post that 18 US
soldiers were taken hostage during the severe fighting in the snow
covered mountains of Gardez in Afghanistan between the US soldiers and
the Taliban forces. 

Sources said that Taliban are now “ demanding the release of all the
Taliban and non Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo X-Ray cells but so far
diplomacu is going on with no positive signs from Bush administration”. 

More than 400 Ame! rican forces had not only withdrawn from the Gardez
region but also provided safe passage to the AlQaida and Taliban forces
for the safety of the US soldiers who were taken hostage during a night
time operation. 

With the arrival of extra 1700 British forces and American
reinforcements in Afghanistan, the allied forces have started a rigorous
hunt of the AlQaida forces to secure the release of the US hostages,
sources added. 

Already the US Central Command General Tommy Frank is in Kabul. 

Sources have said that US may try to use the good offices of the JUI-F
leader Maulana Fazal-ur- Rehman who has been released recently after six
month government custody but Rehman has denied playing any such role
while talking to the Frontier Post on Tuesday from his residence in
Dera. 

“I have also heard some reports about the US soldiers taken hostage by
the Taliban but no one has approached me and I am not in touch with any
body” said Rehman. 

Source:  The Frontier Post

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