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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Questions Afghan Fighters

KABUL, Afghanistan -- U.S. agents interrogated captured fighters in Afghanistan on Thursday for clues in the hunt for the vanishing Osama bin Laden, as war abated and gave way to a detective investigation on a global scale.

Donor countries were meeting in Brussels to discuss supplying massive aid not only to stave off famine but also to rebuild Afghanistan in years to come -- but only if a new post-Taliban government, due to take power on Saturday, can keep the peace.

The UN Security Council prepared Thursday to vote on a resolution authorizing a British-led multinational force to protect the interim administration.

Pakistani secret service agents detained Aminullah Amin, a senior security official of the Taliban, in their first such seizure since the overthrow of the hard-line Islamic movement Pakistan sponsored until only months ago.

But Pakistani troops and police were also still searching mountainsides in the hope of recapturing about 20 of bin Laden's Arab fighters, who seized weapons from their Pakistani guards Wednesday and escaped after a battle that left 15 dead.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Pakistan had captured hundreds of non-Afghan guerrillas who had fled over its border from U.S. bombing and ground attack by Afghan fighters and who might hold leads to bin Laden's cold trail.

U.S. officials admit to not knowing whether bin Laden is alive, dead, still hiding in Afghanistan or long gone.

At a newly built detention center at the airport in the Taliban's former powerbase of Kandahar, FBI agents have been interrogating Taliban and al-Qaida fighters, believing they might help capture bin Laden or divulge plans for further attacks on the United States.

The prisoners, some of them injured, are being held under heavy guard in a compound with space for 120 prisoners and surrounded by mud walls and rolls of barbed wire.

The UN resolution authorizes a British-led international force for Kabul, expected to be only a small fraction of the size of the peacekeeping contingents sent to the Balkans in the 1990s, and still surrounded by disagreements.

A British defense official said it would eventually total between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers. New Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Fahim said troops would number around 1,000 with other personnel providing logistical support.

Germany has expressed opposition to the strong role to be played by the U.S. military in the command of the force.

An adviser to outgoing Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani said Thursday that German, not British, troops should lead the force and patrol the streets of Kabul because of Britain's military interference in the country in the 19th and 20th centuries.

"The weapons with which our grandfathers fought against the British are still oiled," Hashmatullah Moslih said. "The Germans are historically popular in Afghanistan."

The UN resolution gives the troops a six-month mandate, subject to renewal. Britain expects up to 200 marines to be in place by Saturday when the new Afghan government takes office. France and Italy want to send troops soon after.

A Brussels conference led by the European Union, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United States was meeting to coordinate billions of dollars' worth of aid and make Karzai's interim government work.

"Our message must be clear -- reconstruction will only take place in those parts of Afghanistan where local players provide security and stability," said Poul Nielson, European commissioner for development aid, opening the two-day event.

Projects include the restoration of food security, return of refugees, boosting crippled agriculture and clearing millions of landmines.