Mohammad Ismail Khan, a military leader of the anti-Taliban coalition and the commander of the Western front, claimed that Taliban units were joining the Northern Alliance en masse. In his interview with the Gulf News, an UAE-based newspaper, he stated that approximately 3,000 captured Talibans had joined his units. Ismail Khan, the former Governor of Herat, said that 35 Taliban field commanders and 834 men who used to fight on the Northern Front, took the side of the Northern Alliance over the past two weeks. "They did this because they understood that the Taliban movement was co-operating with international terrorism and abided by the orders of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. They understood that Taliban policies resulted in the US air strikes which had inflicted so much suffering to the people of Afghanistan," Ismail Khan stressed. To quote him, he currently controls approximately 90% of the province of Herat bordering Iran, while his advanced detachments are located only 20 km away from the main city of the province.
After the incident with the shootdown of the Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, Russia will supply an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Syria