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U.S. Planes Bomb Taleban Positions in Northern Afghanistan - 2001-11-02


U-S warplanes have carried out new bombing raids on Taleban front-line positions in northern Afghanistan.

High-flying B-52 bombers early this (Friday) morning carpet bombed Taleban positions in the Somali Plains region and near the strategic Bagram airport north of Kabul.

The opposition Northern Alliance controls Bagram airport, but cannot use it, because the Taleban holds hill top positions overlooking it.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press says Taleban authorities claim to have located the wreckage of a U-S plane they said was shot down in northern Afghanistan Thursday. The report says there is no trace of a pilot. The U-S Defense Department denies losing any aircraft Thursday - manned or unmanned.

The Taleban claimed that Thursday's airstrikes damaged a hydro-electric plant in southern Helmand province, cutting of power supplies to two major cities - Lashkargah and Kandahar.

The Taleban also said its forces repulsed a major offensive by opposition fighters in the northern Samangan province. The Islamic movement said opposition forces under the command of ethnic Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostum launched the offensive early Thursday, under the cover of heavy U-S bombing.

In a separate development, alleged terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has called on Pakistan's Muslims to join his al-Qaida organization. In a letter faxed to the Qatar-based al-Jazeera Arabic television network, Mr. bin Laden said Pakistani Muslims should join the fight to make Islam victorious, even though the government in Islamabad has placed itself under, what he called, the banner of the cross (meaning the Christian West).

News reports say at least 600 armed Pakistanis have crossed into Afghanistan in recent days to join the Taleban fighters.

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