Taliban send troops to Chechnya

DAWN, Feb.1, 2000

KABUL, Jan 31: Taliban troops have gone to Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya to provide reinforcements for beleaguered Chechen guerillas, a senior Taliban commander said on Monday.

Leading the Taliban troops in battle in Chechnya is Maulana Dadallah, a one-legged warrior, who has a reputation in Afghanistan as a strong fighter, said the Taliban commander.

The troops left Afghanistan 20 days ago, added the commander, who has been a reliable source of information about the Taliban.

There have been no reports in Russia of Taliban troops arriving in Chechnya.

The Taliban's Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil said on Monday that it was the Muslim world's shame that it did not support Chechnya.

"They are my brothers. The only solution is to help the Chechens," Muttawakil said. However, he did not confirm that the Taliban had sent fighters to the ravaged Russian republic. "They are not terrorists; they are fighting for their freedom," said Muttawakil. -AP

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