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U.S. Bombs Taleban Targets for 6th Straight Day - 2001-10-12


U-S and allied warplanes carried out fresh attacks in Afghanistan today (Friday), pounding the Taleban military and suspected terrorist targets near Kabul in a pre-dawn raid.

Residents of the Afghan capital say they heard large explosions as planes flew over in several waves. News reports say jets dropped bombs in rapid succession in an area north of Kabul, where Taleban fighters are facing troops of the opposition Northern Alliance.

Late Thursday, a huge fireball was seen south of Kabul, where planes bombed a munitions dump near a suspected training camp for al-Qaida, the terrorist network said to be run by Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (news agency) is reporting that at least 160 bodies have been recovered from a village near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Earlier, Taleban officials said they feared more than 200 people might have been killed since the airstrikes across Afghanistan began on Sunday.

U-S officials in Washington say they have no way of verifying if any there were any civilian casualties. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has denied a Taleban claim that the U-S military is targeting civilians. But, he also expressed regret for any loss of innocent life in Afghanistan.

British Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon said Thursday that the air attacks are weakening the Taleban's cohesion. Mr. Hoon told a London news conference that the military strikes have spurred some Taleban members to leave the movement's forces.

Mr. Hoon also said that carefully targeted attacks by U-S and British forces have damaged more than 40 terrorist and Taleban targets in Afghanistan.

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