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More bombs dropped on Kandahar

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A U.S.-led bombing raid struck at targets in and around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar early Thursday morning, in part targeting a fuel storage facility outside the city.

A CNN crew in Kandahar said some of the bombings, in an hour-long attack, shook the crew's location.

An earlier attack appeared to target an oil storage location northeast of Kandahar. CNN's crew members said they saw what looked like secondary explosions coming from the airstrikes.

The heavy bombing had resumed Wednesday evening in Kandahar after waning in the afternoon hours, according to reports from the Arabic language TV satellite network Al Jazeera.

Intensive airstrikes were also reported in Kandahar earlier Wednesday and U.S. fighter jets also pounded targets around the Afghan capital, Kabul, and struck Taliban military positions along the front lines several miles to the north.

In other developments, the United States has information that the Taliban "may intend" to poison food being brought into Afghanistan for humanitarian relief and blame it on the Americans, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said any Taliban claims that the United States would poison food intended for Afghan civilians are "categorically false," and he said attempts will be made to warn the Afghan people to be careful in accepting any food aid that comes through the Taliban.

The Taliban militia Thursday rejected the U.S. allegations, calling it "cynical propaganda."

"No one is so cruel as to poison his own people. This is propaganda which proves that America is nervous," Education Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told the Afghan Islamic Press, a Pakistan-based news agency.

The Pentagon also claimed Wednesday that the Taliban may have deliberately put international journalists into harm's way during a tour of Afghanistan on October 12 by organizing them into a nighttime convoy that would be a likely U.S. target.

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Pentagon officials did not provide specific details backing its claims with regard to either the food aid or the journalists.

Stufflebeem also indicated U.S. military officials have been surprised by the determination of the Afghans, but he said the U.S.-led strikes would continue until the Taliban are toppled.

"They are proven to be tough warriors. We're in an environment they obviously are expert in," said Stufflebeem, the deputy director of operations for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I am a bit surprised at how doggedly they're hanging on to power. For (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar to not see the inevitability of what will happen surprises me. We are prepared to take however long is required to bring the Taliban down."


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