As substantial military forces gathered throughout the middle east and Turkish foreign minister Ismail Chem met senior Bush administration official in Washington today, efforts to get Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan intensified today.

A delegation consisting of a general and several of Pakistan’s most extreme Islamic clerics went to Afghanistan yesterday to urge the Taliban to hand over bin Laden. It is believed that, if this effort fails, an attack by US forces will follow shortly.

The Taliban have announced that their letter asking bin Laden to leave the country has been delivered to him. This was an indication that there has been a change of position within the Taliban leadership, which has seen its control of the country eroding rapidly in recent days, as masses of young men went into hiding or headed for the borders to avoid conscription, and lower-level Taliban officials abandoned their posts.

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