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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Taleban deny leader's son killed
Border crossing at Chaman
The Kandahar raids have prompted a refugee exodus
The Taleban have denied a report that the 10-year-old son of their spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was killed at the start of the US-led air strikes against Afghanistan.

An Afghan doctor, Abdul Barri, said on Sunday that the boy had died from his injuries after the first night of bombing raids on the Taleban's southern stronghold of Kandahar.

But an official from the Taleban, who have regularly stressed the well-being of their leaders since the strikes started, said the doctor's report was "completely false".

"His son is fine. Mullah Omar is fine, Osama is fine, his bases are fine," said Taleban official Abdul Hanan Himat, quoted by the Taleban news agency.

"Our morale is high."

There has been no independent confirmation of the boy's condition.

"Serious injuries"

Doctor Barri spoke to the BBC as he crossed the border at the Chaman checkpoint near the Pakistani city of Quetta.

Mullah Mohammad Omar
A rare image of Mullah Omar
He said that wounds suffered by the boy during the raid included abdominal injuries and a broken femur. He allegedly died the same night.

Mullah Omar's uncle was said to be hit in the same raid, and was receiving treatment in the hospital at Kandahar.

Dr Barri said the hospital had just five days of supplies left, and that people were leaving the city to try to get treatment at the border.

US military officials say they have targeted places where the Taleban leader lives because they hold command and control facilities.

Mullah Omar has been quoted by a Saudi magazine as saying that his own death would not bring an end to the war with America because others would take his place.

He has called on all Muslims to back the Taleban's fight against the United States.

See also:

18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Profile: Mullah Mohammed Omar
24 Sep 01 | South Asia
US military threats dismissed
20 Oct 01 | South Asia
US forces dictating battle
21 Oct 01 | Media reports
Taleban radio warns of US 'poison' rations
23 Oct 01 | Media reports
Mullah Omar offers condolences to Afghans
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