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New raids near Kabul; heavy bombing in Kandahar



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan entered their second week Sunday by targeting positions in the mountains north of the capital Kabul where the ruling Taliban had moved artillery and heavy armor, according to CNN sources.

Late in the evening, explosions rocked the city of Kandahar. Sources inside the city told CNN they sounded like "bunker busters," or GBU-28s, laser-guided weapons developed for penetrating command centers situated deep underground.

Meanwhile, President Bush rejected Sunday the latest Taliban offer to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden to a third country if the United States stops its bombing campaign and provides evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the September 11 attacks.

"Turn him over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostage they hold over, destroy all the terrorist camps. There's no need to negotiate, there's no discussion. I told them exactly what they need to do," Bush said as he returned from the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland.

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"There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty," he said. "If they want us to stop our military operations, they just got to meet my conditions. When I said 'no negotiations,' I meant 'no negotiations.'"

The president has said he also wants the Taliban to release all Western aid workers being tried on charges of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Sunday's attacks came a day after some of the fiercest strikes since the campaign began a week ago.

U.S. planes bombed Kandahar for several hours, hitting a Taliban military headquarters, power lines and other targets, Pentagon sources told CNN Sunday morning. Earlier bombings of Kabul were said to have been less intense.

On Sunday, the Taliban allowed international journalists to view sites in and around Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, including an airfield and radar installation that were heavily damaged.

While some stores were closed and a few people were leaving town, there was a sense of normalcy, with traffic on the streets and people running errands.

They also took journalists to Koram, a village where the Taliban claims 200 people died in an airstrike last week. That would have been about half the village's population, but there was no way to independently verify the claim.

"We asked the people, 'Was this village a terrorist training camp, the way it is hidden away in the hills?'" said CNN's Nic Robertson.

"People here told us that no -- that definitely wasn't the case, that it never had been, and one man brandished his tools that he would use in the field and he said, 'Look, are these the things that Osama bin Laden would use?'"

In Kabul, residents of a neighborhood near the airport cleared away debris after a U.S. Navy jet accidentally dropped a bomb there Saturday, reportedly killing four people and injuring eight.

The Pentagon apologized for any loss of civilian lives and said the F/A-18 Hornet was aiming for a military helicopter at the airport with a GPS-guided 2,000-pound bomb.

In neighboring Pakistan, where one person died Sunday in anti-American protests near an air base outside the southern city of Jacobabad, security was tight in anticipation of Monday's planned visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Protesters are angry about the air base they say is being used by the United States and its allies. Pakistani officials have neither confirmed nor denied that U.S. personnel and planes are using the base.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said Sunday that Pakistani officials want to hear Powell's assessment of the air campaign and how soon it may end.

"We should like to hear from the soldier-statesman his assessment of the operation," Sattar said. "Do we see light at the end of the tunnel, and what needs to be done to bring this operation to a close?"

Sattar said Pakistani officials would make clear that any injuries to civilians in the airstrikes would further inflame passions in Pakistan.

U.S. officials have said the airstrikes have been effective overall. In his Saturday radio address, Bush said the goals of "the first phase of our campaign" had been achieved.

"We have disrupted the terrorist network inside Afghanistan. We have weakened the Taliban's military. And we have crippled the Taliban's air defenses," he said.

"American forces dominate the skies over Afghanistan, and we will use that dominance to make sure terrorists can no longer freely use Afghanistan as a base of operations."

During the first week, U.S. operations have been aimed at the Taliban's defensive infrastructure, units on the ground and underground bunkers used by the Taliban and al Qaeda.

On Friday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Taliban and al Qaeda communications and air defense capabilities have been disrupted, "and we have worked over a number if not all of their terrorist training camps."

"We know that we have found some concentration of Taliban and al Qaeda forces, and we know that they are moving -- that their life is more difficult, and the places where they have stayed, some of them have disappeared," Rumsfeld said.

The Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said on Saturday they have not agreed to hand over anyone.

"They have accused Osama bin Laden of these incidents, but they have not presented us with any convincing proof," Omar said. He called on Muslims around the world to stand with the Taliban in the face of the U.S. attack.

"You, the Muslims of the world, who are watching with your own eyes live pictures of atrocities on your Muslim brothers, and you don't make a move?" Omar said. "Are some of you on the side of the infidels, or are you with us?"

Al Qaeda released a videotaped statement calling the first wave of U.S.-led strikes against Afghanistan "vicious." The Bush administration dismissed the statement as "just more propaganda."

-- CNN Correspondents Nic Robertson, Chris Burns, John Vause and Christiane Amanpour and journalist Sheilah Kast contributed to this story.



 
 
 
 


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