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Taleban: Attacks Kill 20 Civilians - 2001-10-08

Taleban officials say there were at least 20 civilian deaths from Sunday's air and missile strikes against terrorist-related targets in Afghanistan. The Taleban Ambassador to Pakistan says alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden survived the strikes.

Taleban Ambassador Abdul Salaam Zaeef's statements about civilian casualties and Taleban statements saying it downed at least one allied plane have not been independently confirmed.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said "no aircraft were hit, no aircraft were damaged." He also said Taleban claims of civilian casualties are false. "We know the targets were all military targets, the al Qaeda and Taliban military targets," the secretary said.

Speaking to reporters at the Taleban embassy in Islamabad, Ambassador Zaeef said the Taleban is not threatened by the U.S.-led strikes, which he called "terrorism."

The Taleban Ambassador says the strikes hit both civilian and military targets.

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, said he believed the strikes were carefully targeted at terrorist-related sites and not heavily populated areas. President Bush says the strikes were not aimed at the Afghan people.

Ambassador Zaeef also says alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden and the Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar were not harmed by the strikes. He also denied reports of widespread gains by opposition northern alliance forces.