U.S. Elite 'Scouts' Held by Taliban

Article excerpt

PREPARED... Taliban fighters outside the old US embassy in Kabul.

BY MERCURY REPORTER

CONFUSION last night surrounded reports that three members of America's elite special forces have been captured inside Afghanistan.

A Gulf television station said Afghan security forces had seized the Americans, but the Taliban swiftly denied the report.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington declined to comment.

Later, the foreign minister of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, said he doubted that US or British special forces were operating within Taliban-controlled areas of the country.

The al-Jazeera satellite television station in Qatar claimed the men had been seized by Taliban forces along with two Afghans.

A Pentagon spokesman said: 'We are not going to comment on each and every report that comes out of the region.'

According to al-Jazeera, which has close links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, the captured men were armed and were carrying maps showing al-Qaida bases.

Its source said pictures of the men would be released soon.

But the Taliban defence minister, Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, said: 'It is totally wrong, we deny this news that they have come to our areas. …