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US Jets Strike Taleban Positions North of Kabul - 2001-11-03


U.S. jets pounded front line positions north of the capital Afghan capital on Saturday, where Taleban forces are faced off against the opposition Northern Alliance. The latest strikes come as opposition forces say they have made significant gains along another front near a strategic key northern town, Mazar-e-Sharif.

U.S. warplanes streaked across Afghan skies Saturday, dropping bombs on Taleban positions north of Kabul. The strikes began in the dark and continued throughout the day.

Opposition forces applauded the latest strikes, but there are no signs of a major opposition offensive on the capital.

Bombs also fell along a far northern front near Mazar-e-Sharif, where the opposition says it is making gains. Commanders say their forces captured a key district nearby after heavy fighting. Their claims could not be independently confirmed.

The Taleban says it shot down a U.S. helicopter overnight - a claim promptly disputed by Pentagon officials. They do say an American helicopter crashed in Afghanistan - but they blame it on bad weather. They say four soldiers were injured, but that all personnel were rescued. Meanwhile, in neighboring Pakistan, an anthrax scare has hit the southern port city of Karachi where preliminary tests on a letter delivered to a newspaper were positive for the deadly spores. But officials are now saying the government wants to run its own tests. Pakistani government spokesman General Rashid Qureshi.

"There seems to be a little doubt because some tests have been carried out at the hospital in Karachi, and there needed to be a further check on what this powder contained and that is why it is now being forwarded to the National Institutes of Health," he said.

The Karachi offices of the Daily Jang have now reopened, but the editor of the newspaper told VOA that as many as 80 employees are taking medication to ward off anthrax. Officials say no one in Pakistan has shown symptoms of anthrax.