Special operations forces help stamp out Taliban revolt

As U.N. talks on the future of Afghanistan began in Germany, anti-Taliban forces said Tuesday they had retaken control of a fort where prisoners loyal to Osama bin Laden had staged a three- day revolt, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. Special Forces were in action helping Northern Alliance forces put down the bloody uprising in a mud-walled fortress-prison outside the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

The alliance said it had suppressed the revolt, killing the last of hundreds of rebelling bin Laden loyalists. A courtyard of the fortress held the bodies of 60 fighters slain in the fierce battle.

Meanwhile, U.S. Marines expanded their base of operations in southern Afghanistan, sending out heavily armed patrols in Humvees loaded with anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns.

U.S. helicopters and KC-130 cargo planes landed on the hardpacked sand of the base, where an American flag was planted at the center of a compound of buildings.

After negotiations with Pashtun tribal leaders on the fate of Taliban-held Spinboldak, a key town on the main road from Kandahar to the Pakistani border, tribesmen looted blankets and food from humanitarian aid warehouses and drove the Taliban from power, the Afghan Islamic Press said.

The Taliban have vowed to fight to the death in Kandahar. A spokesman, Mullah Abdullah, told the Pakistan-based news agency that the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, was still in town and in command of his troops.