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US Bombs Target Taleban Positions Near Kandahar - 2001-12-02

U.S. air strikes continue on targets around Kandahar, the last Taleban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, as well as on suspected terrorist hideouts near the eastern city of Jalalabad. The battle for Kandahar may soon reach a climax.

Wave after wave of U.S. warplanes roared through Afghan skies to pound targets around Kandahar, where thousands of Taleban fighters, most of whom are believed to be foreign volunteers, are making their last-ditch stand.

A force of Pashtun tribesman battled Taleban troops near the Kandahar airport. The tribesmen say thay are nearing the city, but the claim cannot be independently verified.

Speaking at a forward base near Kandahar, a U.S. Marine officer said the Taleban fighters are facing a lot of pressure. He likened the situation to a snake wrapped around a body slowly tightening its grip.

U.S. Marines have set up their base at a desert airstrip southwest of Kandahar, but have not taken part in the fighting.

Meanwhile, there are new allegations that American bombs had killed 20 civilians near Jalalabad, in an area where some officials believe Osama bin Laden and his followers are hiding. There are also reports of civilian casualties in air strikes near Kandahar airport. But there has been no independent confirmation of either of those reports.