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Sheilah Kast: U.S. fighter jets focus on Kabul

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As we edge toward the fourth week of U.S. military attacks in Afghanistan, fighter jets on Saturday morning focused their targets around Kabul.

CNN Correspondent Sheilah Kast, who's at the Pentagon in Washington, filed this report on the latest strikes.

KAST: We're told by observers in the area that U.S. jets are pounding the hills around Kabul and the area near the airport. This comes after yesterday, when U.S. bombs hit Red Cross warehouses near Kabul by mistake.

A total of eight bombs, each of them 2,000 pounds, hit warehouses. The first two bombs hit a set of warehouses. They were dropped around dawn Friday by U.S. Navy jets, and at about the same time, another Navy jet aimed a smaller laser-guided bomb at the same warehouses. It missed and hit a residential area.

Several hours later, six more bombs from two B-52s hit the Red Cross warehouse complex.

The Red Cross said losing these warehouses leaves it with just one that is stocked with food, medical supplies, blankets, clothing for the disabled in Kabul. A Red Cross spokesman said the buildings had been clearly marked and that they had been pointed out to U.S. officials.

The Pentagon expressed regret for what it called an "inadvertent strike." It said its preliminary investigation identified "human error in the targeting process" as the cause of the mistake.

In another development, back at the Pentagon, the Defense Department has awarded the biggest military contract in history. Lockheed Martin will build the next generation of fighter planes, called the Joint Strike Fighter, a contract that could turn out to be worth $200 billion. Lockheed Martin's plan for the X-35 won out over Boeing's plan for an X-32.

The Pentagon expects to buy about 3,000 of these planes, some of them land-based, some carrier-based, some vertical-landing. They will replace a range of current fighters, and it's possible that some other countries may buy the Joint Strike Fighter also.

Lockheed Martin estimates the contract will create at least 8,000 jobs.


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