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US Continues Attacks on Taleban Frontlines


U.S. warplanes carried out more strikes along Taleban frontlines as the U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan met with Pakistan's president to discuss establishing a broad-based government in Afghanistan. A senior Pakistani military figure pledged continued support for the U.S. led fight against terrorist targets in Afghanistan.

Huge explosions were reported along Taleban front lines north of Kabul, as well as on the outskirts of the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Earlier, terrorist and military-related targets were hit around Kandahar in the south and Jalalabad in the east.

The commander of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks has strongly defended U.S. actions.

Speaking in Uzbekistan, following talks in Pakistan with President Pervez Musharraf, General Franks denied reports that the air campaign is not achieving its aim of destroying Taleban defenses. He says U.S. forces will maintain the initiative, and will not be subject to an outside timeline for achieving their goals.

In Islamabad, Pakistan's Presidential spokesman, Major General Rashid Quereshi says there is "complete understanding" between the United States and Pakistan following General Franks visit to Islamabad. But he would not divulge any details of the talks.

General Quereshi says Pakistan is concerned about the accidental deaths of civilians in the bombing campaign. "Pakistan is supporting and cooperating with the world community in the fight against terrorism," he said. "So basically it is against terrorist-related activities or people that Pakistan is supporting this action. However, I do agree that there is collateral damage. In the process there have been civilian casualties - erroneously I might add - and Pakistan remains committed to the welfare of Afghanistan and of the Afghan people. To say this is an operation against the country, against Muslims or Islam, is unfair and incorrect."

Meanwhile, the U.N. special envoy for Afghanistan met with Pakistan's president. U.N. officials say Lakhdar Brahimi also met with senior Afghan exile leaders in Pakistan and will meet with other Afghans as well - although there are no plans at present for discussions with the Taleban.

A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry says Mr. Brahimi's mission is to accelerate the process of achieving a broad-based post-Taleban government in Afghanistan.

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