U-S warplanes have pounded Taleban front-line positions north of Afghanistan's capital Kabul in what opposition Northern Alliance fighters and local residents called the heaviest strikes of the air campaign.
U-S jets dropped bombs on the Shomali plain throughout Saturday. Witnesses said there were at least a dozen explosions during the series of attacks. The private, Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press quotes Taleban sources as saying nine people were killed and 15 others wounded in the northern raids. No further details were given.
The Taleban also says opposition fighters failed to advance under cover of the bombings during a push on the strategic northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. The French news agency quotes an opposition spokesman as confirming that the offensive had been turned back. Taleban spokesman Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi also refuted earlier reports that said Taleban forces had caught and executed five more opposition commanders.
Elsewhere, U-S warplanes kept up heavy bombardment on Taleban positions throughout Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, thousands of armed Muslims have left mountainous northwestern Pakistan to join the Taleban's fight against coalition forces in Afghanistan.