Allied Bombers Resume Strikes North of Kabul
Today the strikes focussed on the northern part of the capital Kabul, and some stray bombs hit residential neighborhoods, killing 13 civilians, the Associated Press reported.
Witnesses said 10 people were killed in Kabul’s Qali Hotair neighborhood. An Associated Press reporter saw six bodies, four of them children.
The Pentagon had no immediate response to the deaths, but has said repeatedly that civilians are never deliberately targeted.
Some reports claimed that 35 bombs dropped for 11 hours starting Saturday night.
The strikes in Afghanistan are meant to punish the governing Taliban for harboring terrorist Osama bin Laden and to remove the oppressive regime from power.
In one village north of Kabul which is controlled by the Taliban’s opposition, a stray bomb left another woman dead and one of her children injured. The Northern Alliance has expressed their support of the U.S. raids, and more recently has called on the coalition to increase their efforts to disempower the Taliban.
Opposition Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said in a news briefing that “Yesterday’s damage to the Taliban capacity in the front lines was significant… If yesterday’s type of bombing becomes the standard, the objective of the eradication of terrorism and the war against terror as a whole could be achieved much quicker — sooner rather than later.”
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the next step of the U.S. operation was to “assist opposition forces in the north and the south.”
In neighboring Pakistan, the president called for the U.S.-led military campaign to be “short and targeted.”
The mostly Muslim nation has been under pressure from its citizens for providing assistance to U.S. forces as they conduct their military campaign against Afghanistan.
Gen. Pervez Musharraf said he would like the campaign to be over by the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which starts in mid-November.
“We feel the military action should possibly be short and targeted in order to avoid civilian casualties,” Musharraf said after a meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
In Britain, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the coalition is considering a pause of the strikes during that month.
In other news, Pakistani officials said today that they had turned over a man wanted in connection with the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. The attack was another instance where Osama bin Laden was assumed to be the mastermind. The Yemeni microbiology student was the first known arrest outside Yemen in connection with the Cole attack.
Opposition to such cooperation appears to be mounting in Pakistan. Today pro-Taliban Pakistanis seized a remote northern town, demanding that the government stop supporting the U.S.-led strikes, the Associated Press reported. The rebels, armed with rocket launchers, Kalashnikov assault rifles and handmade guns and swords took over most government offices.
Also in Pakistan, at least 16 Christian worshippers were killed in the southern town of Behawalpur when the attackers, suspected of belonging to a fundamentalist Muslim group, sprayed the church with gunfire.
It was not immediately known that the killings were related to the military campaign, but the parish priest, Rev. Rocus Patras said “Whenever something happens with America, they attack Christian churches.”