Afghan guns open fire on plane in sky over Kabul
KABUL, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Anti-aircraft guns opened fire on at least one plane high in the sky over the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, and a Defence Ministry official said the army was trying to shoot down an unidentified aircraft.
Firing was intense for about 15 minutes from anti-aircraft batteries around the city and was directed at two planes flying high over the city, an eyewitness said.
One plane disappeared at high speed, the second was seen circling in the clear skies over the war-shattered capital. At least one surface-to-air missile was fired at the aircraft as it circled above the city.
"A plane is circling at high altitude and we are trying to shoot it down," a Defence Ministry official told Reuters, adding that he did not know the country of origin of the aircraft.
The plane was an unmanned aircraft used for reconnaissance to spot Taliban air defence positions, said one official on condition of anonymity. "Other provinces are calm. there has been no air intrusion in any part of the country, including Kandahar," the official said, referring to the southern stronghold of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Al-Jazeera satellite station showed footage of what it described as an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and a missile that missed aircraft blew up in a puff of white smoke. The plane then flew off toward the north.
It was the first time anti-aircraft batteries had opened fire in Kabul since test-firing a few days ago that sent residents scurrying for cover.
An official in Kandahar said military commanders were preparing for fighting in the face of threats of U.S. strikes in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, top suspect in the September 11 hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"The military commanders are holding meetings in their areas and readying people for fighting in case Afghanistan is attacked," one official said earlier.
Mullah Omar, who now leads the most isolated country in the world, has given every sign that his puritanical Taliban movement is ready to face the world's most modern army with fighters armed with only a small, antiquated armoury rather than surrender the world's most wanted man.
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