US Planes Attack Taliban Positions North Of Kabul
US planes attacked Taliban positions north of Kabul on Thursday in a series of raids aimed at softening defences along the front lines close to the Afghan capital.
The attacks started at sunrise, about 6:00 am (0130 GMT), in the Kapisa region, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of the capital.
After the raid plumes of smoke rose from the Shomali plain, which crosses the front line separating forces of the Taliban regime and the opposition Northern Alliance.
The raids were briefly halted at 7:00 am, but then resumed and lasted throughout the morning.
A B-52 bomber flew over the Taliban positions several times at high-altitude, its passage followed by a series of loud explosions.
Washington has concentrated its attacks on this area since Wednesday, with the Taliban there controlling one of the three access routes to Kabul.
US planes could also be heard over the south portion of the front, near the Koh-i-Safih mountain and Karabag, another access route to the capital.
The third route from the west of the Shomali plains was bombed towards midday, when an AFP journalist saw a B-52 unleash at least three bombs on Taliban controlled areas.
The bombing was intense and spread over several kilometres behind the front line aiming to hit the Taliban's infrastructure, such as shelter and fuel depots, as well as their armaments, according to opposition commanders close to the front line.
US warplanes also bombed Taliban positions in northeastern Afghanistan close to the border with Tajikistan Thursday for the eighth time in 12 days.
US raids in the area began on October 28 to put pressure on Taliban forces, who have also come under attack south of the strategically important northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif.
To date however the forces of the Northern Alliance in the northeast have not been able to take advantage of the US strikes by making progress on the ground.
Kabul was seized by the Taliban from opposition forces in 1996, capping a series of stunning victories for the Islamic militia which now controls about 90 percent of the country -- BAGRAM, Afghanistan, (AFP)
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