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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
US planes pound Afghanistan
An F-18 fighter jet takes off from USS Enterprise on 11 October
The Taleban accuses the US of targeting civilians
American warplanes have staged more daytime and evening attacks on the Afghan capital, Kabul, with bombs reported to have fallen near the airport and a military base in the east of the city.

The air raids prompted heavy anti-aircraft fire from Taleban forces. Explosions were also heard in the southern Taleban stronghold of Kandahar.

We are very much still at the beginning... We are there for the long haul

British armed forces chief
The strikes came as the British Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, said the campaign could last into next summer if it did not end rapidly now.

The Taleban have accused the United States of targeting civilians, saying more than 140 people had been killed in the last 24 hours.

The reports were impossible to verify as foreign journalists are barred from entering Taleban-controlled territory, but the Taleban governor in Jalalabad is reported to have invited reporters to come see evidence of civilian casualties.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested that Britain, the US and possibly other countries are ready to use ground forces in Afghanistan.

But he refused to divulge the precise nature of the next phase of military action.

In other developments:

  • US President George W Bush promises the US military unlimited resources in their fight against global terrorism
  • Pakistani soldiers are deployed in Quetta and other cities to prevent outbreaks of violence ahead of pro-Taleban rallies due on Friday
  • Americans hold memorial services to mark one month since the terror attacks on New York and Washington
  • US military officials say air force sergeant Evander Earl Andrews is killed in an accident in the Arabian Peninsula, becoming the first US death in Operation Enduring Freedom
  • US television executives agree to "exercise judgement" in broadcasting statements by Osama Bin Laden and his associates after the US Government warned that they may include coded incitements to violence
  • Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar urges Muslims around the world to support the fight against the United States
  • The US State Department tells US embassies to stock up on antibiotics in case of anthrax attacks

Daylight raids

Huge plumes of smoke were reported in the area of Kabul airport and on the eastern edge of the city, home to two of the Taleban's biggest military bases.
US B2 bomber
The US has started dropping bunker busting bombs

The daylight raids come a day after Washington said its operations would from now on continue around the clock.

Attacks on Wednesday night were described as the most intense overnight bombardment since the campaign started on Sunday.

US planes were reported to have dropped powerful "bunker-busting" bombs designed to penetrate underground positions, which could signal the start of the next phase in the allies' campaign.

GBU-28 "bunker busting" bomb
Developed during the Gulf War
Its characteristics are a classified secret
An improved guidance version was made two years ago
The Afghan Islamic Press agency quoted Taleban sources as saying the village of Kouram near Jalalabad had been flattened in Wednesday's attack.

More than 100 people were feared dead, with 50 bodies recovered so far, a Taleban spokesman said.

There was no independent confirmation.

Strikes on Kandahar in southern Afghanistan reportedly triggered an exodus of civilians from the city.

Refugees from the city arriving at the Pakistani border said bombs had fallen on populated areas.

Launch new window : Military glossary
Guide to the military hardware being used

The US-led military campaign is aimed at targeting Bin Laden - accused of organising the 11 September attacks on the US - and the Taleban, who are sheltering him.

Launch new window : Detailed map
Click here for a detailed map of the strikes so far

When the Americans enter Afghanistan, here will start the real war - not now

Taleban ambassador

Several Taleban leaders died on the first night of US and British attacks, a senior US official was quoted as saying.

Two men related to Taleban leader Mullah Omar were among those killed, the official said.

Our whole family spends the night in a room with only one window, which we block with bedding to stop the shrapnel

Kabul resident

The anti-Taleban Northern Alliance claimed that its forces had advanced in the central province of Ghor, capturing an air base and the town of Cheghcheran.

But the Taleban said they had repelled an assault in the area. Neither claim could be verified.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield Hayes
"US jets could be clearly seen streaking across the sky above Kabul"
The BBC's Jonathan Marcus
"The emphasis is shifting towards the Taleban ground forces"
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt
"I do not think anybody foresees an extensive bombing campaign"
See also:

10 Oct 01 | South Asia
Summary of targets so far
11 Oct 01 | South Asia
Plain sailing for US air force
09 Oct 01 | South Asia
Fears of Afghan food crisis
09 Oct 01 | Americas
Bush's military countdown
11 Oct 01 | Americas
New scare diverts US flight
11 Oct 01 | Americas
Analysis: Washington's next phase
11 Oct 01 | South Asia
Mapping Afghanistan's political future
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