The United Front (formerly referred to as the Northern Alliance) controls only a little over five percent of Afghanistan. It was not involved in any formal military cooperation with the United States, said General Fahim, a military chief since the assassination of the legendary Ahmad Shah Masood.
"We have only contacts with America. We have received no aid or any promise for it," he said. "They have not discussed the modality of their operations with us. But we think they will hit Taliban areas with missiles and bombs and, based on a situation like this, we will start our all-out infantry war against them."
Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden was blamed for the assassination of United Front leader Ahmad Shah Massood by the only survivor of the suicide bombing that killed him. The statement came during a taped interview for Deutsche Welle television in Berlin. Massood was 18 inches from where two men posing as journalists detonated a bomb hidden in a television camera.
The eyewitness, Masood Khalili, said he had been serving as a translator on Sept. 9 for an interview between Massood and two men with a television camera when the camera exploded.
"The interview started, they (asked) what is the situation in Afghanistan. The commander started to say one word, then the bomb blasted," said Khalili, the United Front's ambassador to India, who is hospitalized in Germany. "Unfortunately, the commander was martyred by these terrorists of Osama bin Laden and the enemy of the world." he said. Of six people in the room when the bomb detonated, Khalili said only he survived.
In Pakistan, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said any new Afghan government would have to be "broad-based" and "multiethnic" and not imposed from abroad.
Musharraf outlined his position Wednesday as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was traveling through the Middle East preparing allies for possible military strikes.
Saudi officials expressed concern Wednesday that a war on terrorism could create harmful "secondary effects" in the Muslim world.
Musharraf has also expressed concern about the long-term effects of American military action against Afghanistan to destroy bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.
Musharraf has also promised full support to the U.S. campaign against bin Laden, who Washington suspects was behind the Sept. 11 attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon.
Pakistan has not officially commented on evidence provided by the United States this week linking bin Laden to the attacks. However, a senior Pakistani official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the American evidence "is enough to actually provide justification for action against bin Laden."
Bin Laden lives in Afghanistaunder the protection of the ruling Taliban militia, with whom Pakistan had maintained close ties since before the fundamentalist Muslim group seized power in 1996.
Pakistan's population is heavily Muslim, and the prospect of the government there joining in an alliance with non-Muslims to attack another Islamic state has angered the country's small but politically active Muslim parties.
Political uncertainty led Russia to announce Thursday that it would evacuate family members of its diplomatic corps stationed in Pakistan and any other Russian citizens who wish to leave the country.
In Kabul, the Taliban information minister, Qatradullah Jamal, refused to comment on Musharraf's remarks about a multiethnic Afghanistan, but he accused Western broadcasters such as the Voice of America and British Broadcasting Corp., of waging a propaganda war against the Afghan leadership.
Fighting continued Wednesday between Taliban forces and the northern alliance in central and northern Afghanistan. Both sides claimed progress, but the reports could not be verified.
A convoy of supply trucks from foreign aid agencies arrived in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and more winter supplies were on their way by truck and on the backs of 4,000 donkeys traversing mountain passes, officials said. Other aid was coming from Tajikistan to the north.
More than 1.1 million people are displaced inside Afghanistan, said U.N. spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker. The World Food Program has cautioned that about 400,000 people in northern Afghanistan's Faryab and Balkh provinces could run out of food by week's end.
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