U.S. pounds Taliban front, prepares for winter combat
October 24, 2001
(CNN) -- Coalition forces hit Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday as the U.S.-led airstrikes continued to target Taliban strongholds, sources said.
Northern Alliance forces continued to exchange fire with Taliban troops on Wednesday near Bagram Air Base, a strategic site north of Kabul, according to CNN Correspondent Matthew Chance, reporting from Bagram. Mortar fire, artillery and gunfire were heard throughout Tuesday night and Taliban troops were reported to be putting up stiff resistance.
The Northern Alliance was attempting to consolidate its position south of Bagram, a Soviet-built facility 25 miles north of Kabul, according to reports. Should the alliance take Bagram, its commanders say, that could open the door for U.S. forces to use the air facility.
In Washington, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, the deputy director of operations for the Joint Staff, said he doubted the war would end before the onset of winter weather in Afghanistan next month. The Taliban should be prepared for more pounding during those months, he said. "We are an all-weather-capable force," he said.
* U.S. Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command, told reporters in Bahrain on Wednesday that the United States is being "absolutely open and honest" about casualties caused by American forces. Asked how long the military operation would last, he deferred to President Bush's remarks about solving the global terrorism problem. "He said, 'We'll be at it for as long as it takes, and I think I'd leave the answer that way.'"
* Residents of the village of Chowker Korez told CNN Wednesday that dozens of people were killed Monday night and more than 20 wounded in a U.S.-led attack on the village, 62 miles northwest of Kandahar. The claims could not be independently confirmed. A CNN Afghan crew went to the village and said it was heavily damaged. A Pentagon spokeswoman said she had no information concerning such an incident.
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