Hundreds of Taliban Surrender at Kunduz

Indeed, at least one apparent Taliban surrender reportedly did not happen so peacefully. Britain's ITN News and CNN reported that a Taliban soldier awaiting a search near Mazar-e-Sharif detonated a hand grenade, killing himself and two other Taliban soldiers, a report not confirmed by ABCNEWS.

Taliban Under Pressure

Today's surrenders come amid heavy U.S. airstrikes on Kunduz and other targets in Afghanistan believed controlled by the Taliban or bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist organization.

On Friday, Pentagon officials confirmed they dropped 15,000-pound BLU-82 "daisy cutter" bombs Wednesday and Thursday, both near the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. They were the third and fourth used in the campaign against the Taliban.

Targets near the southern city of Jalalabad, an area where some believe bin Laden may be hiding, also were under bombardment today, the Associated Press reported.

Bombs have been falling almost daily on Kunduz, and explosions could be heard coming from the area today by ABCNEWS' Don Dahler.

There have been conflicting reports about the likelihood of a Taliban surrender of Kunduz. Today, the Northern Alliance foreign ministry in the city of Taloqan claimed to ABCNEWS that Gen. Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek warlord fighting with the Northern Alliance, had taken Kunduz from the west and the Taliban forces had surrendered. The claim contradicted other reports.

In what has become a standard response to frequent reports of Kunduz's surrender, a Pentagon source said, "It's a fluid situation. We'll wait for the dust to settle."

Peaceful Resolution Sought

The international community, working around the clock to secure a future for Afghanistan, has been eager to see a peaceful handover of Kunduz, fearing a bloodbath should the Northern Alliance have to launch a full ground offensive.

More broadly, the international community and the United Nations are seeking an orderly transfer of power throughout Afghanistan. Talks on the establishment of a new multi-ethnic, power-sharing government in Afghanistan are scheduled for Tuesday in Bonn, Germany.

Speaking on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America Friday, Barnett Rubin of New York University, an expert on Afghanistan, said the situation in Kunduz could play a crucial role in peace prospects in Afghanistan.

"If this ends up in a massacre where a very large number of Pashtuns [the primary ethnic group among the Taliban] are killed by Tajik and Uzbek soldiers of the Northern Alliance, it could have a poisonous effect on ethnic relations," Rubin said, "whereas if there is a peaceful surrender, it could help with the future."

ABCNEWS' Jim Sciutto and Don Dahler contributed to this report.

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