U-S warplanes have again been bombing the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida fighters holed up there failed to meet a surrender deadline set by local Afghan tribal forces.
Anti-Taleban commanders say some three thousand al-Qaida fighters are trapped in a valley, following intense U-S bombing and overnight raids by U-S special forces.
Earlier, a tribal commander (Haji Mohammad Zaman) had given al-Qaida fighters until three hours 30-minutes universal time today (Wednesday) to begin laying down their arms. But the deadline passed with no word of any surrenders.
The situation remains unclear. Some reports say surrender negotiations were continuing. Reports also say tribal commanders are discussing whether to launch a new assault on the al-Qaida fighters to cut off their possible escape into Pakistan.
Fighting in the region eased Tuesday after trapped al-Qaida members radioed an urgent request for a ceasefire to a local military commander, who agreed and also set the surrender deadline.
A senior Pentagon official suggested the ceasefire request may have been an excuse to buy time for the al-Qaida fighters.
Meanwhile, media reports quote an unidentified U-S official who says American intelligence now has indications Osama bin Laden is in the Tora Bora area. The official says the al-Qaida leader may have been near the spot where on Sunday a U-S plane dropped a 680-kilogram "daisy cutter" bomb.