Bombing in waves
Calcutta Weather

Washington/ Kabul, Oct. 7: 
The wait is over. American and British missiles roared into targets in Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad around 10 pm IST on Sunday as President George W. Bush redeemed his pledge to Americans to avenge the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Also attacked was the Afghan city of Kunduz, where Osama bin Laden, according to intelligence reports, is currently hiding.

In a second wave of attacks shortly before midnight IST, the area around the Kandahar residence of Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, was hit. It was not clear if Mullah Omar was in Kandahar at that time. The Taliban announced soon after that Mullah Omar and bin Laden were alive.

The militia regime also claimed to have downed an unidentified plane in southern Afghanistan.

Around 2.30 am IST, Qatar’s al Jazeera TV reported a fresh wave of attacks on Kabul. An Iranian news agency said fighting has broken out between the Taliban and people in a border town.

Earlier, Bush told Americans taking it easy on the weekend that the US and Britain had launched America’s new war. US Vice-President Dick Cheney was moved to an undisclosed location as a security precaution.

Pentagon officials said the $1-million Tomahawk cruise missiles were used in the first attacks, launched from American and British ships and submarines in the Arabian Sea. Pakistan airspace was used to launch the strikes.

US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the initial attack phase is not yet over and added that the US had no indication that any of its aircraft had been damaged or shot down. “We downed a plane in the province of Farah,” Taliban’s deputy defence minister Mullah Noor Ali had told al Jazeera television.

Rumsfeld said B1, B2 and B52 bombers were used. The B2 stealth bombers flew in from the US. A military official said 15 bombers, 25 strike aircraft and 50 cruise missiles were pressed into service.

Rumsfeld said the strikes were designed largely to aid forces opposing the Taliban within Afghanistan. He said air force C-17 aircraft have begun to drop 35,500 packages of humanitarian food rations and medical supplies in Afghanistan.

Information filtering into the Pentagon said the US attacks plunged Kabul and Jalalabad into darkness. The Taliban radio stations in the two cities were silenced in the raids.

The airports in Kabul and Kandahar are also believed to have suffered severe damage but the Taliban said “only unimportant” targets were hit. Giant flashes lit up the night sky over Kabul around 10 pm IST.

An eyewitness said the US bombs or rockets had struck near the defence ministry in the heart of the Afghan capital.

Strikes on the airport in the southern city of Kandahar have destroyed a command-and-control centre, CNN reported. A Taliban source said the strikes damaged the airport building but left the runway undamaged.

The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, said the strikes on his country were a “terrorist” attack.

“We cannot hand over Osama to America. Poor and common Afghans will die, for which America will be responsible. This is an attack on an independent country. We will fight to the last breath.”

The Herat airport, one of Afghanistan’s best, was also hit. The western city of Herat borders Iran, which has voiced dissent against the strikes, describing them as “unacceptable”.

“I could hear the planes and then there were at least four loud explosions,” said Reuters correspondent Sayed Salahuddin after the first wave of attacks on Kabul.

The firing tapered off for a few minutes but resumed after a jet aircraft could be heard passing over the city. Minutes before, three big flashes lit up the frontline between the Taliban and Afghan opposition forces 40 km north of Kabul, witnesses said.

The Northern Alliance said at least three training camps near Jalalabad may have been hit.

Afghan opposition forces launched a heavy barrage of shelling on Taliban positions north of Kabul about an hour after the US strikes began.




Maximum: 34.2°C (+2)
Minimum: 26.4°C (+1)



Relative humidity

Max: 95%
Min: 60%


Possibility of light rain, accompanied by thunder, in some areas.
Sunrise: 5.34 am
Sunset: 5.15 pm

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