US Bombers Pound Taliban Front Lines; AFGHANISTAN: Pressure Mounts on Bush Administration to Step Up Military Strikes

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

US Bombers Pound Taliban Front Lines; AFGHANISTAN: Pressure Mounts on Bush Administration to Step Up Military Strikes


Byline: GAVIN CORDON

HEAVY bombers last night launched the most devastating assault yet on Taliban front lines as US public opinion called for the war effort to be stepped up.

The frontline strikes saw explosions across the no man's land between Taliban and Northern Alliance territory and were the biggest series of bombardments yet, with the southern city of Kandahar also being pounded by airstrikes.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced he had permission to call up as many as one million reservists, as the military needed more than the 50,000 it had already activated.

CNN reported America has asked Turkey for troops to aid the effort, raising speculation of a rapid deployment of ground forces to Afghanistan.

But there were also claims by the Taliban that 1,500 people had been killed in total by the strikes, including 15 who died when a hospital in Kabul suffered a direct hit.

Western journalists were taken to the Afghan Red Crescent - the equivalent of the Red Cross - hospital in the city where Dr Obeidallah Hadid said 15 people had been killed and 25 severely injured.

Reporters could not see the bodies but saw some of the injured. Damage to the building, located about a mile from the city centre, was extensive.

Two ambulances and two pick-up trucks had also been destroyed.

The claim of 1,500 civilian casualties came from the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, who said, "This is the worst type of state terrorism that the White House administration is perpetuating in Afghanistan."

Planes flew low over Kabul yesterday but dropped no bombs, while jets screamed over Taliban positions on the Shomali plain, while at one edge of the plain, in the foothills of the Safi Mountains, clouds of dust rose where Taliban forces moved tanks.

There were also reports of American special forces in civilian clothes in the area. …

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