Bounty On Bin Laden
AP
Northern alliance soldiers fire on Taliban positions in Kunduz province.
(CBS) With the Taliban regime on the verge of collapse, the United States is hoping a $25 million reward will help convince Afghans to hunt down the No. 1 suspect in the terrorist attacks on America.

"Our hope is that the dual incentive of helping to free that country from a very repressive regime ... coupled with substantial monetary rewards" will convince "a large number of people to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves looking for the bad folks," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday.

President Bush said the "noose is beginning to narrow" around bin Laden as Taliban-ruled areas in Afghanistan dwindled and the search for him expanded.

"More and more territory (is) now in friendly hands," Mr. Bush told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. "The more territory we gain, the more success there is on the ground, the more people we've got looking to help us in our mission."

Secretary of State Colin Powell said no country on the periphery of Afghanistan, including China, would give bin Laden a haven.

"I don't think this fellow is going to be welcome anywhere," the secretary said. "He is an outcast. He is a murderer, he's a terrorist. ... He is on the run, just as the president said he would be. And we will get him."

To spread word of the $25 million reward for getting bin Laden and a "select few" of his lieutenants, the U.S. military is dropping local-language leaflets "like snowflakes in December in Chicago," Rumsfeld said.

Intelligence officials believe he is in rural parts of Afghanistan, not under northern alliance control -- meaning either southeast of Kandahar or around cities like Jalalabad in the east or Kunduz in the north.

The Taliban's envoy to Pakistan said Saturday that bin Laden had left Afghanistan, but that has not been substantiated. Later, the diplomat said he meant only that bin Laden was outside areas under Taliban control.

U.S. bombers, meanwhile, continued to hit Taliban targets in Kandahar in the south and Kunduz in the north, the only major cities still in the Islamic militia's hands.

At Kunduz, foreign militants loyal to bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network mostly Arabs, Pakistanis and Chechens were preventing their Afghan allies in the Taliban from surrendering, refugees from the city said.

Refugees have said up to 300 Taliban fighters were shot apparently by their own side as they tried to surrender Friday. Reports of other killings on a smaller scale have also emerged in recent days.

The Taliban had offered over the weekend to leave Kunduz on condition of guarantees of safety for the foreign fighters, a northern alliance commander said. But other alliance commanders said Monday they doubted the Taliban were in a position to negotiate since Arabs effectively control the city.

Alliance troops for the past several days had encircled the city without firing. But on Monday they used two tanks, two artillery pieces and a multiple rocket launcher to fire on Taliban positions in the hills.

Refugees who fled Kunduz to the nearby village of Bangi reported summary executions by the besieged Taliban. One refugee, Dar Zardad, said Taliban killed eight teen-agers for laughing at them and other fighters shot to death a doctor who was slow to treat wounded Taliban.

The northern alliance asked the United Nations to find representatives from Afghanistan's majority Pashtun ethnic group with whom the alliance can negotiate over a new government. A conference between all Afghan factions was set to begin Nov. 24 in Germany, most likely Berlin, a Pakistani diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Following a meeting with alliance leaders in Afghanistan, U.S. envoy James F. Dobbins said in Islamabad, Pakistan that he was convinced the leadership was willing to compromise because "there is really a hunger for peace."

Four journalists, ambushed in Afghanistan Monday, have been confirmed as dead, Italian Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero said.

The four a television cameraman and a photographer working for the Reuters news agency; a journalist with the Spanish daily El Mundo; and a journalist with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera were traveling from Pakistan to the Afghan capital of Kabul when they were ambushed.


Italian gov't
confirms journalists' deaths.


Ruggiero said their bodies would be flown home via the Red Cross in Kabul.

Backed by U.S. bombardment, the northern alliance swept the Taliban out of northern Afghanistan last week and seized the capital, Kabul. The Taliban hold also fell apart in the south, where local leaders took control of many areas.

In Kabul, television banned for the past five years under the Taliban resumed broadcasting, with two hours of programming Sunday and Monday night. A woman announcer, with her black hair partially covered with a scarf, read news and promotions between public health programs, cartoons and music.

Kabul residents also swarmed the newly opened Bakhtar cinema, long closed by the Taliban ban on movies. Hundreds of people who couldn't fit into the packed theater jostled outside, blocking traffic. Finally, soldiers with rifles intervened, pushing the crowd away from the front gate.

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