Friday, November 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Raids hit dam, power plant
Taliban say ground-air attack repulsed

Islamabad, November 1
US bombs severely damaged Afghanistan’s biggest dam and power station, cutting electricity to two major cities, a Taliban minister was quoted as saying by Afghan Islamic Press today, even as the Taliban claimed to have repulsed a ground-air attack by the USA.

The Kajaki hydro-electric power station in Helmand province was bombed last afternoon and electricity supplies to the cities of Kandahar and Lashkarga have been completely halted, a Taliban official said in Kabul.

But Amir Khan Muttaqi, Taliban Education Minister, told the Pakistan-based AIP that the dam has also been badly damaged.

“So far, water has not started gushing out of the dam but any further bombing will destroy the dam. It may cause widespread flooding, putting at risk the lives of thousands of people,” Mr Muttaqi was quoted as saying.

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban said today they had repulsed the first coordinated air and ground attack by the USA and opposition forces in the north, but had lost a major power plant in the south in bombing raids.

“Last night, the opposition staged three massive offensives on Bazari Baluch around Dara-i-Suf in coordination with US bombing,’’ Taliban Information Ministry official Qari Fazil Rabi said.

“They achieved nothing and there is no change in our positions,” he said.

Mr Rabi said the joint attack was the first since the start of the US military campaign against the ruling Taliban and their “guest’’, Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, that began 26 days ago.

There was no immediate comment from the opposition Northern Alliance, led in Dara-i-Suf in Samangan province by ethnic Uzbek warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum who wants to recapture the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Mr Rabi said the Northern Alliance left casualties on the battlefield, but was unable to give details.

Such battlefield reports from remote areas of war-ravaged Afghanistan cannot be easily verified. There were no reports of overnight bombing in Kabul or along the Taliban frontlines north of the Capital which were carpet-bombed for the first time yesterday by a giant B-52 bomber.

DUSHANBE: Around 8,000 Uzbeks are currently fighting for the Taliban in the northern provinces of Afghanistan, the Russian news agency Ria Novosti said, quoting an official of the Islamic state of Afghanistan’s Defence Ministry.

The official said these gunmen were being led by the notorious warlord Juma Namanghani, who is based in the Baghlan province. His gunmen comprised the majority of Taliban units in Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz and Takhar.

Russian media have reported that Namanghani’s real name is Jumabai Khojyev. He previously served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan.

Khojyev is wanted by the Uzbek police for numerous crimes ranging from armed attacks and robbery to contract killings. AgenciesBack


Defend Islam, Laden asks Pakistanis

Dubai, November 1
Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden has issued a letter urging Pakistani Muslims to defend Islam against what he described as a Christian crusade, Qatar’s Al-Jazeera satellite television reported today.

The television showed a picture of the letter written in Arabic which it said was signed by Bin Laden. A copy of the letter was not immediately available.

“Osama bin Laden called on Muslims in Pakistan to stand in the face of what he called a Christian crusade against Islam,’’ a Jazeera newsreader quoted the letter as saying. Reuters

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