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Afghanistan: Airstrikes Continue As Opposition Claims Success

Prague, 3 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. warplanes are continuing to strike Taliban frontline positions in Afghanistan. Yesterday, strikes were launched north of the Afghan capital Kabul and east of the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Opposition Northern Alliance fighters say the intensity of the bombing has improved in recent days and is more effective at hitting Taliban positions.

Also, the Northern Alliance said it had captured the district of Aq-Kupruk, 70 kilometers south of Mazar-i-Sharif.

But the Taliban said it had recaptured the district. There was no independent verification of either claim.

Suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden appeared in a new video broadcast yesterday by the Qatar-based satellite television channel Al-Jazeera.

He accused the United Nations of committing crimes against Muslims and said Arab leaders who cooperate with the world body are infidels. It is not clear when the videotape was made.

British Foreign Office minister Peter Hain described the video as "fantasy."

Hain, a junior minister, said in a statement that it is the Taliban, not the West or the UN, who are to blame for the plight of Afghanistan.