Al-Quaida, Taliban vow revenge as air raids continue
WASHINGTON (APP): US planes punish Afghanistan but draw fire during a daylight raid Wednesday on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, as prime terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden renewed his call on all Muslims to attack US targets worldwide.As the United States claimed air supremacy over Afghanistan, Arab nations gave support to the fight against global terrorism but were cautious about the US action in Afghanistan.
The White House said the call bolstered Washington's accusation that bin Laden had masterminded the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington that have left the country bracing for further possible assaults.
US bombs, meanwhile, narrowly missed Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
"Omar was seen leaving his home minutes before the missiles hit," said one local resident.
Pentagon officials said Omar's compound was a "legitimate target," as it housed command-and-control facilities.
And the Taliban claimed that bin Laden had also survived the blitz.
But Washington vowed to keep up the pressure on Kabul and its "guest." Heavy antiaircraft fire met US planes Wednesday morning as they conducted a bombing raid on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
"There are four to five planes flying around the city," Taliban foreign ministry official Nematulah was quoted as saying.
Kandahar residents said they heard at least four loud explosions coming from the direction of the city's airport, which has been a regular target since US-led forces began their strikes against Taliban positions three days ago.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said all but one of Afghanistan's airfields were damaged, as were antiaircraft radar, launchers and several terrorist camps.
"We believe we are now able to carry out strikes more or less around the clock as we wish," Rumsfeld said.
Pakistan has urged that no civilian blood be shed in the attacks.
Wednesday's daytime raids followed a third straight night of US-led air strikes raining bombs and missiles on Kabul and other major Afghan cities.
Taliban responded to US air strikes with defiance and vowed revenge, pledging over two million Afghan lives in a jihad against what it called US "open terrorism".
Mullah Zaeef, Taliban representative to Pakistan, told the press here Tuesday that a cruise missile had slammed into a house of Mullah Mohammad Omar, supreme leader of Taliban, but he was not there.
He also announced that at least 35 civilians were killed or wounded in the airstrikes.
meanwhile, the Taliban militia opened anti-aircraft fire at a sortie of US planes flying over the Taliban's stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday morning.
At least 10 civilians were reported killed during the US strikes on Wednesday in US attempt to strike Taliban supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar in Kandahar.
Taliban sources said that Mulla Omar succeeded to escape and he was safe.
The sources said dozens of the civilians have been killed during the last three days in US air attacks in different parts of Taliban controlled areas.
Another report said a 400-bed hospital was came under attack in Kabul when a cruise missile hit its building.
According to the report, thousands of people of Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandhar have compelled to go to mountains and border areas.
Xinhua adds: U.S. fighter planes Wednesday evening bombed a Taliban military base in Shamshad, just 6 kilometers away from Torkham check post at the border with Pakistan, according to the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).
Sources in the area told the AIP that at least five or six explosions were heard at the Taliban base at around 19:30 PM .
No details of casualties were immediately available, AIP said.
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