U.S. warplanes carried out heavy bombing raids against Taleban front lines across northern Afghanistan Thursday. V-O-A's Jim Teeple reports from Islamabad, the strikes took place as the Taleban Ambassador to Pakistan said Taleban authorities have detained several U.S. citizens.
Responding to reporters questions at his daily press briefing, the Taleban Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salaam Zaeef said Taleban authorities had detained several U.S. citizens. The Taleban ambassador gave few details. "We have a few American citizens with us. They have been arrested," he said. "Their identity is not known so far. The investigation is going on, and we will inform you later on."
U.S. officials had no immediate comment on the latest Taleban claim.
The Taleban Ambassador's comments came as U.S. jets pounded Taleban front-line positions across northern Afghanistan. The Taleban also says U.S. bombs struck hydropower facilities at one of the largest dams in Afghanistan located in Helmand Province - north of the city of Kandahar - creating widespread power outages across southern Afghanistan.
The opposition Northern Alliance Foreign Minister says the strikes against Taleban front-line positions have been very effective saying Northern Alliance forces are now ready to break the Taleban front lines. Some Northern Alliance commanders have complained recently the U.S. strikes at terrorist and military-related sites in Afghanistan were not helping their campaign to capture strategic positions in the north of the country.
Fighting along some battle lines appears to have intensified in the last few days.
Taleban authorities say they repulsed a major Northern Alliance offensive in Samangan Province, south east of the strategically important city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
A Taleban Ministry of Information official says fighters held positions near Dara-e-Suf in a battle against troops under General Rashid Dostum an ethnic Uzbek Northern Alliance commander. U.S. planes have heavily bombed the area around Dara-e-Suf, which is near Mazar-e-Sharif.