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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 06:11 GMT
Entering Kabul as Taleban flees
Northern Alliance forces have made substantial gains in recent days
Kate Clark

BBC correspondent Kate Clark, expelled from Afghanistan under the Taleban, was given permission to walk into the liberated capital Kabul by Northern Alliance commanders.

The scenes are amazing. I'm surrounded by crowds of people coming up to me, shaking my hand and shouting "Peace be with you" and "May you live long".

Everyone seems very happy, jubilant that the Taleban have been thrown out of their city.

In the early hours Northern Alliance troops have raced forwards towards the city.

Most people seem to be very, very happy at the overthrow of the Taleban from their city

Small deployments have entered while the majority of troops are now massing outside the city.

We saw one lorry load heading back with some prisoners.

We also saw a few Taleban dead on the road coming down, including a senior lieutenant of one of the commanders who had defected to the Taleban.

On the new frontline at the door to Kabul, there are armed guards, reinforced by tanks and armoured vehicles, on the road preventing the mass of Alliance troops entering the city.

Taleban destruction

As I drove south with the troops I saw town after town which had been destroyed by the Taleban when they occupied the southern plains two years ago.

Vineyards were destroyed, orchards burned, trees cut down.

Kate Clark
Kate Clark was ordered to leave the country by the Taleban in March
It was an area of extreme destruction.

Closer to the city there were signs of habitation, small shops open and people cheered the Alliance troops on.

Some even found flowers in this drought stricken country to thrown in their path.

Under the Taleban, the city was uneasy and the rule was very harsh.

Kabul was a sophisticated capital city.


The Taleban were rural mullahs who enforced their village ways on the city.

They believed the people of Kabul were the equivalent of communists because of their liberal views.

Now that the residents of Kabul believe their city is free from Taleban and foreign militants, most people seem to be very, very happy.

But as I talk to Afghans, as well as jubilation there is some trepidation.

People are worried about security and some say there has been looting overnight, particularly from houses where Taleban used to live.

There is a security vacuum in Kabul - what the people most feared.

It is not yet clear who will enforce law and order in what seems to be the post-Taleban era for the Afghan capital.

The BBC's Kate Clark in Kabul
"The scenes are amazing .. there are crowds of people"
See also:

15 Mar 01 | South Asia
BBC correspondent leaves Afghanistan
12 Nov 01 | Americas
Powers search for Afghan settlement
11 Nov 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden nuclear fears calmed
12 Nov 01 | South Asia
Herat, the 'pearl' of Afghanistan
12 Nov 01 | South Asia
Mazar residents hail Taleban defeat
12 Nov 01 | South Asia
Major boost for Afghan aid effort
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