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Rumsfeld: Campaign's challenges no surprise

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Allied bombers resumed military strikes Sunday in the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar after a lull of nearly two days.

The bombers, distinguished by their loud engines, began circling over Kandahar around 11 a.m. local time. CNN Correspondent Kamal Hyder reported hearing several loud explosions to the west of the city, shaking walls and rattling windows. But residents -- accustomed to wartime conditions -- went about their daily routines, going shopping and heading to work.

CNN's Chris Burns reports on how civilian casualties in Afghanistan are affecting support for the antiterrorism coalition (October 28)

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Sunday marked the beginning of the fourth week of the U.S.-led bombardment. In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the ongoing conflict -- which, save for one publicly acknowledged Special Forces raid, has been conducted mainly from the air -- has proved challenging. But he said he predicted it would be from the outset.

"This is going roughly the way we have said publicly that it would go," Rumsfeld told CNN. "We've said that it would be long, that it would be difficult. We said that it would be different, and indeed it is."

Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, suffered the heaviest bombardment yet in the U.S.-led military campaign, with some 35 bombs falling on the city in an 11-hour period Saturday night, sources in the city said.

North of Kabul, in a village controlled by the opposition Northern Alliance, a stray U.S. bomb left one woman dead and one of her children injured, the woman's cousin told CNN. The incident occurred in Ghani Khail, 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the front line, where U.S. forces have been striking Taliban entrenchments north of Kabul.

The cousin said Cocogol Khan, 25, was at home with her two children sewing clothes for a wedding party when the bomb fell. Her son, 4, was wounded, but her daughter, 2, escaped injury, the cousin said.

Seventeen others were injured and taken to two hospitals, the cousin said.

At Khan's funeral, an imam condemned the United States for the bomb but also blamed "a stupid man called Osama bin Laden" for causing the deaths of innocent Afghans in the U.S.-led military campaign.

Another man at the funeral said the bomb was clearly a mistake and that the airstrikes should continue. Scattered gunfire and a jet was heard in the nearby mountains Sunday.

Speaking of those opposition forces whose territory was hit by the stray bomb Sunday, Rumsfeld said the next step of the U.S. operation was to "assist opposition forces in the north and the south."

"We've been doing that," he said, adding, "We've done a pretty good job of now being able to function over that country from the air."

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card said U.S. forces would continue to target the ruling Taliban and the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Asked if the United States would commit to deploying ground forces, Card replied, "Let's not go there yet. ... But we are going to win this war."

CNN Correspondents Chris Burns in Ghani Khail and Kamal Hyder in Kandahar contributed to this report.


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