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US Hints at Plan to Strike N. Afghanistan


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is hinting at imminent U.S. air strikes against Taleban positions north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Mr. Rumsfeld said U.S. forces are trying to be as helpful as possible to the anti-Taleban opposition inside Afghanistan. But he suggested there have been few air strikes against Taleban positions blocking the advance of Northern Alliance opposition forces north of Kabul because of a lack of precise targeting information.

Still, he voiced hope for improved targeting information soon and says any Taleban troops who feel the safest place for them is along the front lines to the north are mistaken. "I suspect that in the period ahead that's not going to be a very safe place to be," he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon Monday the U.S. military is making good progress in creating conditions for sustained anti-terrorist operations inside Afghanistan.

He says U.S. aircraft and missiles continue to hit al-Qaida and Taleban targets, including military training facilities, missile storage sites, troop staging areas and the like.

He said U.S. aircraft are also continuing airdrops of relief supplies. In addition, planes are dropping information leaflets and broadcasting radio messages to discuss the U.S. military operation.

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