Five British muslims die in fighting

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Five British Muslims were killed along with scores of other foreign volunteers fighting for the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, officials of Islamic militant groups said today.

There are several hundred more Pakistanis believed stranded in Afghanistan but precise figures are unavailable, they said.

"Five of our British Muslim volunteers were martyred in Mazar–i–Sharif," Hassan Butt of the Britain–based Al–Muhajiroun group told The Associated Press.

They include Abdul Saleem, 25, from East London; Zulfikar Ahmed, 28, from Leicester; and Abu Waheed, 26, from Crawley. Mr Butt refused to identify the other two.

Al–Muhajiroun lost three other Britons and two American Muslim members last month during US–led bombing of Kabul.

"We still believe that the Taliban have not been defeated," Mr Butt said. "We will be sending more volunteers, money and weapons to them."

At least 400 Pakistanis, many of them from tribal region, were killed by the northern alliance forces in their march from Mazar–i–Sharif to Kabul, the English–language daily The News reported, quoting unidentified Pakistani security officials.

In Kabul, the opposition fighters killed several Arabs and Pakistanis, who were left behind by the retreating Taliban forces.

There are thousands Pakistani, Arabs, Chechens in the ranks of the Taliban troops, according to the northern alliance. Many of them were part of bin Laden's al–Qa'ida terrorist network.

Last month, Pakistan–based militant group, Harkat ul–Mujahedeen, lost at least 27 fighters who were killed in U.S. bombing on Kabul. In early November, 85 militants belonging to the Harkat–e–Jehad–e–Islami died by US strikes around Mazar–i–Sharif.