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Afghanistan: U.S. Bomb Strikes Residential Area

Kabul, 13 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The Pentagon has confirmed one of their warplanes missed a Taliban military target at Kabul airport early today and the weapon exploded in a residential area about a kilometer and a half away. The Defense Department said in a statement it regretted any loss of civilian life.

The reports come as U.S. bombing entered its seventh night. Reports say U.S. warplanes are now targeting sites around Kabul and the city's airport, where huge explosions have been reported. U.S. warplanes are also reportedly targeting the northeastern city and Taliban stronghold, Khandahar.

The opposition Northern Alliance's Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said the U.S. strikes have destroyed the Taliban's ability to launch counteroffensives.

In a radio address today, U.S. President George W. Bush said the U.S. strikes were achieving their goals.

"We have disrupted the terrorist network inside Afghanistan. We have weakened the Taliban's military. And we have crippled the Taliban's air defenses. American forces dominate the skies over Afghanistan and we will use that dominance to make sure terrorists can no longer freely use Afghanistan as a base of operations."

The Taliban today rejected an offer by Bush to halt the bombing in exchange for handing over Osama bin Laden. Taliban Information Minister Mullah Qudratullah said the militia's position on bin Laden was unchanged. The Taliban say the U.S. strikes have left more than 300 dead.