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U-S Warplanes Bomb Northern Afghanistan, Kandahar - 2001-10-31


U-S warplanes have launched heavy bombing raids on front line positions north of the Afghan capital, Kabul and near the southern city of Kandahar.

In the north, U-S planes hit positions near the opposition held Bagram airport, just north of Kabul, and near the city of Mazar--e-Sharif. Witnesses say the raids on Kandahar were targeted against Taleban military sites and suspected al-Qaida terrorist bases.

The Taleban alleges the death toll among Afghan civilians has risen to 15-hundred. The claim could not be independently confirmed. The United States has accused the Taleban of deliberately inflating casuality figures.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz told a news conference that the Taleban supreme leader Mullah Omar and terror suspect Osama bin Laden were to blame for the deaths of innocent civilians.

The prince said he was "amazed" how the Afghan people and interests of Muslims are being sacrificed for the sake of a few individuals. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the United Nations office in Pakistan says U-N special envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi will not have time to meet with Taleban officials during his visit to Islamabad. The Taleban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salaam Zaeef, had requested a meeting with Mr. Brahimi during his fact-finding mission. Later, the Taleban denied asking for a meeting.

The U-N envoy is in Pakistan for several days of discussions with a wide range of people on how to form a new broad-based and multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan.

The Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press quotes Taleban sources as saying U-S military authorities have electronically seized Taleban radio frequencies near Taleban headquarters in Kandahar -- and have begun broadcasting music and messages. Music is banned under the Taleban.

Separately, U-N refugee officials are warning conditions are getting worse at a refugee camp inside Afghanistan run by the Taleban. U-N representatives say conditions at the Spin Boldak Camp deteroriating rapidly.

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