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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 00:47 GMT
US pressure builds on Taleban
Smoke rising from a village north of Kabul
Villages along the Taleban front lines have been hit
More US special forces have entered Afghanistan as the campaign's fifth week began with the heaviest bombing so far.

The United States' top military officer, General Richard Myers, said more teams of special forces had been deployed in Afghanistan to work alongside opposition forces.

"The more teams we get on the ground, the more effectively we will bring air power to bear on the Taleban's lines," said General Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Northern Alliance fighter with tanks
Opposition fighters say they are ready to advance
He was speaking after American B52 bombers pounded Taleban front lines in northern Afghanistan, stepping up efforts to help the opposition Northern Alliance.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge, reporting from territory held by the Northern Alliance, said it was the most concentrated bombardment in a single day since the US-led campaign started on 7 October.

No sign of breakthrough

Bombs rained down, leaving huge columns of smoke and dust visible for miles.

Intensive B-52 strikes were also reported on and behind Taleban lines near the border with Tajikistan, as well as north of the capital Kabul and on the capital itself.


Fierce ground fighting continued near the strategically-vital northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif, where an earlier opposition breakthrough was reported to have been beaten back by the Taleban.

The Northern Alliance says it is again trying to capture Taleban-held territory to the south of Mazar-e-Sharif.

But Mike Wooldridge says there is no sign of a breakthrough on the ground.

Denial

General Myers also denied a report in the New Yorker magazine that American soldiers had been wounded by Taleban forces during a raid into Afghanistan last month.

He said US forces had the initiative against the Taleban, and were prepared to fight throughout the winter.

A Taleban spokesman said their fighters were determined to repulse American attacks.

"They fully support not only fighting against America but every foreign power," the spokesman said. "They can never tolerate the presence of foreigners."

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

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Harding
"The United States has stepped up military strikes"
The BBC's Julie Etchingham
examines recent military developments within Afghanistan
See also:

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03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Taleban free French reporter
02 Nov 01 | South Asia
Taleban hunt key rebel leader
02 Nov 01 | Europe
Turkey rejects Ramadan pause
02 Nov 01 | South Asia
The Taleban: Accommodating hosts
20 Oct 01 | Americas
Profile: US special forces
02 Nov 01 | Business
UK expands terror funds list
27 Sep 01 | South Asia
The Taleban's winter ally
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Captive French reporter 'to be freed'
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Anti-Taleban fighters 'seize district'
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden hits out at UN 'infidels'
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Taleban 'recapture northern district'
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
Taleban free French reporter
04 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
US tight-lipped on foreign support
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