RAY SUAREZ: The first reports that the Taliban would surrender their stronghold Kandahar came from Islamabad, Pakistan. The Taliban's former ambassador said supreme leader Mullah Omar would turn over weapons tomorrow to tribal forces. But he said the Taliban would not surrender to Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun leader who was named head of the transitional government yesterday.
SPOKESMAN: Mullah Mohammed Omar is in this area now and Hamid Karzai and also the people, which Mullah Mohammed Omar agreed to surrender power to, they should try to save the life and dignity of Mullah Mohammed Omar.
RAY SUAREZ: Karzai confirmed the news that negotiations were under way. Speaking to reporters in Quetta, Pakistan, Karzai's brother was asked whether there would be a cease-fire.
AHMED KARZAI, Hamid Karzai's Brother: He told me to wait for the Taliban that they can make an announcement. Probably they will make an announcement tonight or tomorrow.
REPORTER: But do you think that the Taliban will surrender Kandahar tomorrow?
AHMED KARZAI: Well, that was the main thing that they were talking about. That was the main thing in negotiation.
REPORTER: You believe that that is going to happen?
AHMED KARZAI: Yes, I believe. Yes.
RAY SUAREZ: In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld addressed reports of the surrender.
DONALD RUMSFELD: There is no question what the position of the United States of America is, and that is that we have as our principal objectives seeing that we deal effectively with the senior al-Qaida leadership and the Taliban leadership, and that we...
The remaining al-Qaida fighters do not leave the country and go off to conduct additional terrorist attacks on other nations, including the United States, and that Afghanistan not be a nation that harbors terrorists. We have expressed very forcefully to all of the so- called opposition leaders who have been opposing the Taliban what our principal goals are and what are views are, and we have... At least at this moment, I have not seen or heard anything that would suggest that anyone is negotiating something that would be contrary to what our interests are. You can be certain that the people...
The opposition forces in and around Kandahar, where it is believed Omar is, are fully aware of our very strong view on this. And our cooperation and assistance with those people would clearly take a turn south if something were to be done with respect to the senior people in that situation that was inconsistent with what I've said.
REPORTER: There are reports out of the region now that a deal has actually been cut; that Omar will be allowed to live within his area there on the Pashtun, and live in so-called "dignity." That does not mean, then, if we go along with the deal, that he would be turned over to you. Would you accept that kind of a situation?
DONALD RUMSFELD: If you're asking, "Would an arrangement with Omar where he could 'live in dignity' in the Kandahar area or someplace in Afghanistan be consistent with what I have said?" -- the answer is no, it would not be consistent with what I have said.
REPORTER: You don't think there will be a negotiated end to the situation?
DONALD RUMSFELD: I don't not think there will be a negotiated end to the situation that's unacceptable to the United States.
REPORTER: What's your preferred solution for mullah Omar?
DONALD RUMSFELD: I'm not going to get into an answer with respect to one individual. Obviously he has been the principal person who has been harboring the al-Qaida network in that country. He does not deserve the Medal of Freedom.
REPORTER: Do you today still want mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden in American hands?
DONALD RUMSFELD: We want exactly what you said, that we want either to bring justice to them or bring them to justice. And as I have said, there are a variety of different ways that that can occur, and it will depend on the individual, and it will depend on whether or not we get them, and when we get them, and what the circumstances are. And all I can say is that there are a whole set of questions depending on nationality, depending on circumstance, and those issues will be resolved. But we want control over... We want these people to be dealt with in the manner that I've characterized.
RAY SUAREZ: Despite the talk of a negotiated surrender, fighting continued in and around Kandahar today.