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US Strikes Near Kandahar - 2001-10-29

U.S. warplanes have struck terrorist and military-related targets in eastern Afghanistan and the southern city of Kandahar. The attacks took place as a senior U.S. General met with Pakistan's President in Islamabad. Meanwhile, Taleban officials are telling thousands of supporters in Pakistan not to try and enter Afghanistan.

Heavy air strikes targeted Kandahar but it was in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border where U.S. warplanes focused most of their attention. They hit targets in Gora Tangi where Osama bin Laden is believed to have built a maze of tunnels years ago.

Just across the border in Pakistan's tribal areas several thousand Pashtun tribesmen waited to cross the border to join the Taleban.

But speaking in Islamabad, Taleban Ambassador Mohammed Zaeef told them their services are not needed.

The Taleban envoy says at present it is too dangerous for the tribesmen to cross. He also says there are plenty of Taleban to defend their territory. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Islamabad had asked the Taleban not to recruit Pakistani's.

Tribal groups supporting the Taleban have also blocked Pakistan's northern Karakoram highway that links Pakistan with China. Government authorities say they are negotiating with the tribesmen to reopen the highway.

Ambassador Zaeef also said several Americans may have been with former Mujahedin-leader Abdul Haq when he was captured but he said he could not give details. The former Mujahedin-leader was executed with several of his colleagues last week after being captured on a mission to recruit tribal leaders to oppose the Taleban.

General Tommy Franks, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command met with Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf. No details of the meeting are available. But spokesmen for the U.S. Embassy and the Foreign Ministry say General Frank's visit will be brief.