Saturday, October 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Mazar-e-Sharif, army division bombed
160 bodies found, Pak installs Mistral missiles

Kabul, October 12
Afghanistan’s capital came under sustained bombardment in the early hours today, in what residents described as a combined plane and missile assault.

An AFP reporter here counted 10 explosions, as planes flew over the city in several waves beginning at 0415 IST. Taliban gunners responded with a steady barrage of anti-aircraft fire.

“At times there were no planes but still explosions, so there must have been some missiles coming in as well,” he said, adding that some of blasts were felt inside the city.

American planes bombed the Mazar-e-Sharif airport and the 18th army division of the Islamic Taliban.

AIP said US planes also bombed Taliban’s Qardha army division positioned west of capital Kabul, and the Daman and Arghandab districts of Kandahar, the Taliban leadership’s stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

“The whole area is enveloped in clouds of dust. The sky is not visible”, a Kandahar resident told the Pakistan-based agency after the heavy air strikes on the city and its suburbs overnight.

Taliban’s anti-aircraft guns went into action as US jets dropped three bombs in rapid succession and within 20 minutes another fighter plane dropped two more bombs in the north and east of Kabul.

Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said Kandahar, was also bombed on Friday.

The Taliban also claimed that at least 160 bodies had been recovered from a village near Jalalabad, which has been the target of repeated US air attacks since the operation was launched.

Security has been beefed up with paramilitary forces patrolling the streets of Quetta and Peshawar, bordering Afghanistan, in view of the call given by major Islamic political parties for a nationwide demonstrations and strikes against the US military actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s support to it.

Anti-Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have seized strategic points in the country’s west-central region to block Taliban supply routes, an official at the Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan said on Friday.

But Mohajeddin Mehdi, first secretary of the embassy, which is affiliated with the government-in-exile of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, said fierce fighting is continuing for the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, seen as a key stronghold for any force to take to control the country.

The opposition forces have already blocked the main road leading from Kabul, to the north, Mehdi said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani troops and Taliban fighters exchanged gunfire overnight along the Pakistani-Afghan border, officials said today, according to local media reports.

The News, quoting officials, said the 30-minute gunbattle between Pakistani paramilitary troops and Taliban forces took place at Tormandi in the tribal area of southern Waziristan in north-western Pakistan.

The anti aircraft Mistral missiles have been installed at Pakistan’s Chaklala airforce base here as part of vigilance exercise.

These missiles have been installed in view of the ongoing US sponsored strikes against Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: Under heavy security, the US military set up shop on two air bases in Pakistan, putting troops in a better position to launch commando raids or rescue missions inside Afghanistan.

The move on Thursday was risky for US troops, but worse for Pakistan, military experts said.

At least 15 US military aircraft, including C-130 transport planes, have landed at Jacobabad in the past two days, Pakistani officials and witnesses said.

Officials in Pakistan said the Americans were not ground forces. And officials at the Pentagon stressed the bases would not be used for air assaults.

ROME: Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance has grounded its aircraft after a demand from the USA as a precaution to prevent accidents, opposition officials said on Friday.

“Our helicopters have stopped flying just in order not to be treated as Taliban aircraft”, a Northern Alliance officials told AFP on condition of anonymity. “They are banned only for that reason”, said the official. He said he hoped the flights would resume soon.

Opposition diplomatic sources outside the country have confirmed the grounding. Agencies
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Pak insists on UN backing

Islamabad, October 12
Pakistan has said it will not endorse any US-led military campaign against other Muslim countries beyond Afghanistan and asserted that the present operations should be confined to implementation of UN resolutions on the Taliban regime.

Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Pakistan would follow the UN Security Council resolutions of September 12, which did not permit the USA to carry out operations in any other Muslim country. “Our policy is cast in the mould of the UN resolutions”, he was quoted by media here today as telling reporters in Lahore.Back

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