Having liberated the Helmand province in western Afghanistan, Northern Alliance troops are advancing to Kandahar, advisor-envoy of the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe Muhiddin Mehti told RIA Novosti on Thursday. According to him, skirting Jelalabad large government units are moving from the southeast towards Kandahar. The operation is aimed at completely surrounding the Taliban's main stronghold where their headquarters are based, he said. In the meantime, as early as on Wednesday Sayed Ibrahim Hikmat, the Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan, told RIA Novosti that the Taliban had "lost control" of Kandahar. This happened after "city residents led by the former mayor rose to armed fight" against them. Muhiddin Mehti added that fierce fights with the use of tanks and artillery were going on near Jelalabad. According to Mehti, the town of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, has been besieged by government troops for several days already. The Taliban realise the hopelessness of their position and are offering fierce resistance using people as a live shield. Mehti said this only made it tougher for the Northern Alliance to take the city.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18