Skip to comments.Strikes are underway
Posted on 10/07/2001 9:38:29 AM PDT by michigander
Reporitng strike have begun!
First wave of bombings!!
This house is going full allert.
The reports follow indications from Afghan opposition Northern Alliance that the United States was preparing to launch air strikes against the Taleban "very soon".
Alliance Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said that unspecified American sources had told the anti-Taleban opposition to ground their aircraft and he warned residents of the capital Kabul to stay away from military bases.
There is no confirmation from Washington, but Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to brief journalists after 1800 GMT following a series of unusual early-morning Sunday meetings at the Pentagon.
The Taleban says it has sent 8,000 extra troops to Afghanistan's border with Uzbekistan, which has given American forces access to an air base for the US anti-terrorism campaign.
"We have deployed our forces in all important areas because this is a question of our honour and prestige," a defence ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press.
"We will never bow down to American forces and will fight till the last breath," he added.
President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan gave permission on Friday to visiting Secretary Rumsfeld for US cargo planes, helicopters and troops to use Uzbek territory - but only for search and rescue operations inside Afghanistan.
Within hours of Uzbekistan's announcement, elite US troops from the 10th Mountain Division began securing an airfield near the town of Termez near the Afghan border.
In other developments:
US President George W Bush has shown no interest in Taleban efforts to bargain over the fate of its guest Osama Bin Laden - Washington's prime suspect in the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington, which left more than 5,600 people dead or missing.
"The Taleban has been given the opportunity to surrender all the terrorists in Afghanistan and to close down their camps and operations," Mr Bush said in his weekly radio address on Saturday. "Full warning has been given, and time is running out."
Mr Bush ignored questions about the Taleban on Sunday, as he attended a firefighters' memorial ceremony at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg near his Camp David retreat.
After the ceremony he quickly returned to the White House.
Some 35,000 US military personnel, 350 aircraft and three aircraft carrier battle groups are in the region.
Britain has made available more than 23,000 troops taking part in manoeuvres in the Gulf state of Oman.
Mr Bush also urged Congress to supplement $320m in immediate humanitarian aid with extra funds for the future reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
Northern Alliance commanders say their forces have taken significant steps towards recapturing the strategic northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif.
"We will take Mazar in the next two to three days," a spokesman for opposition commander Atta Mohammad told the AFP news agency by telephone from northern Afghanistan.
There were also claims of opposition success in the western Ghor province, where another spokesman said their forces were within a mile of the regional capital Chaghcharan.
The first explosions could be heard about 12:27 p.m. EDT. Five large explosions shook the city, followed by the sounds of anti-aircraft fire.
Power went off throughout the city almost immediately after the first of five thunderous blasts.
There was no indication what caused the blasts, which appeared to have been in the southwest of the city.
The southwestern part of Kabul includes the Darulaman Palace, an ancient royal residence, and the Balahisar Fort, an old Mogul style installation.
A curfew was in effect in the city, making it impossible to independently determine further details.
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