Sunday, October 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Ground attack on Kabul soon
USA resumes bombings * Uzbekistan not to help in strikes

Kabul, October 13
US jets launched fresh attacks tonight in the Kabul area, firing at least seven missiles at targets at the northern end of the city.

WASHINGTON: A US Navy F/A-18 attack jet missed a Taliban military target at Kabul airport with a precision-guided 2,000-pound bomb early on Saturday and the weapon exploded in a residential area about a mile away, Pentagon said. Reuters

Residents could see heavy smoke rising in the area north of the airport despite the darkness.

According to Afghan Islamic Press reports Kandahar was also under attack tonight, with US planes attacking the Taliban’s Qishla Jadeed military base in the northeastern part of the city.

At least four explosions shook Kabul early today as US aircraft resumed raids over Afghanistan’s Capital after a temporary halt during the Muslim holy day, residents said.

The jets carried three sorties and dropped heavy bombs while Taliban anti-aircraft batteries went into operation, they said.

“We heard two very large explosions,” a resident in the city’s northern flank said.

“Taliban gunners opened anti-aircraft fire,” as the jets first flew overhead, he said adding the attack came around 03:00 am (0330 IST).

Some 40 minutes later the jets mounted another raid.” The third explosion appeared a bit far away.”

He said another attack came after a lapse of 10 minutes but the explosion was not large.

Four civilians were reported to have been killed in the attacks the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported from Islamabad.

The casualties occurred in Qila Mir Abbas village situated about 2 km south of the Kabul airport area.

Electricity was earlier cut in the Afghan Capital shortly after nightfall, in what has become a prelude to the daily aerial strikes which began on Sunday.

Taliban officials said the raids targeting bases of the ruling militia and camps of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan had claimed scores of lives.

Earlier Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers said the USA reduced military operations in Afghanistan yesterday. The Afghan Islamic Press said Kandahar was buzzed by U.S. planes earlier this morning, but no bombs had been dropped.

A report from Washington said the USA appeared to be preparing to shift its war against terrorism from the air to the ground in Afghanistan.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney alluded for the first time yesterday to the possible use of ground troops as the air war against Afghanistan entered the seventh day.

Talking broadly about options ahead of the seventh day of the US-led campaign to force Taliban to hand over terrorist mastermind Bin Laden, Cheney said that the mission could involve “boots on the ground.”

Asked whether President George W. Bush had a masterplan for the military campaign, Mr Cheney told PBS public television that “the capabilities are all pretty much signed up to in advance.”

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Friday said he felt it was appropriate that ground forces should move into areas where US bombs and war planes had destroyed Taliban and Al-Qaida military targets.

TASHKENT: Uzbekistan has said it will not allow strikes against Taliban to be launched from its soil.

The Defence Ministry today said ground combat operations and bomb strikes against Afghanistan would not be allowed to be launched from the territory of Uzbekistan, according to Novosti.

There were no grounds for sending additional forces and weapons to the Uzbek-Afghan border, as, in the course of the military reform and in keeping with its defence doctrine, Uzbekistan completed relocating and regrouping its troops in major directions already last year, he said.

Uzbekistan has, however, in a joint statement with the USA said it favoured destruction of international terrorism and its infrastructure.

In London British Minister for International Development Clare Short said on Saturday that the USA and its allies had no plans to launch a broadbased land invasion of Afghanistan and would not carry out “blanket bombing.” AFP, UNI

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Another son of Omar dies

Islamabad, October 13
Another son of Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Omar died of the wounds received in US bombings, according to Pakistan daily ‘The News’. The other day, Omar lost another son. Omar’s daughter, one of four wives and several Omar’s relatives were wounded in the attack, Novosti said.

Meanwhile, another daily ‘Pakistan Observer’ reported that Mullah Mohammad Omar, his son, father, as well as all his relatives were safe and sound and in a safe place. UNI

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Alliance wrests three villages

Kabul, October 13
Afghanistan’s opposition alliance today claimed fresh victories and Taliban defections, but the extent of their coordination with US-led air strikes remained unclear.

A senior opposition commander, Atta Mohammad, said the alliance had wrested control of three villages within 20 km of Aibak, the capital of Samangan province in the north of the country.

He said three Taliban commanders and 80 soldiers had also defected to the opposition overnight. AFP

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Use of airbases not for attacks: Pak

Islamabad, October 13
Pakistan has said permission to US forces to use two of its airbases for emergency purposes is in line with Islamabad’s decision to provide airspace, intelligence and logistic supports for military action against terrorists and their harbourers in Afghanistan.

“Yes, Jacobabad and Pasni airports have been allowed to be used by the US-led coalition, but only for search and rescue operation to help pull out their injured troops from Afghanistan,” Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said.

“Our airports and other facilities have been provided for non-combat role,” he told the daily ‘Dawn’. PTI

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