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Afghanistan: U.S. Strikes Continue Into Morning

Kabul, 17 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. planes dropped more bombs on targets around the Afghan capital Kabul and the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar this morning, following a night of attacks. The Afghan Islamic Press said the barrage in Kandahar set several buildings in the eastern part of city ablaze.

Opposition Northern Alliance spokesman Mohammad Habeel told AFP that U.S. forces had also bombed Taliban front lines at Shohi, some 65 kilometers north of Kabul, as well as positions close to the strategic Bagram airbase, some 50 kilometers from the Afghan capital.

Fighting between Taliban troops and Northern Alliance forces was also reported around the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The Northern Alliance says its troops are about six kilometers from the Taliban-controlled city.

Yesterday, the U.S. Defense Department acknowledged that a U.S. war plane mistakenly dropped bombs on one or more warehouses used by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul.

The statement said the 454-kilogram bombs were dropped on the warehouses in the Afghan capital because they were believed to store Taliban military equipment. U.S. forces did not know the ICRC was using one or more of the warehouses.

The ICRC reported that wheat and other humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouses were destroyed, and an Afghan security guard was injured.

The Defense Department statement said, "U.S. forces intentionally strike only military and terrorist targets, and regret any innocent casualties."