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Chance: Northern Alliance coordinating with United States



(CNN) – A third consecutive night of air strikes on Afghanistan got under way Tuesday as the United States sought to dismantle the Taliban’s military runways, aircraft, airports and surface-to-air missile sites.

Along with aiming its resources at the ultimate goal -- flushing out Osama bin Laden -- the U.S.-led campaign appears designed to overthrow the Taliban-ruled government of Afghanistan.

CNN correspondent Matthew Chance is in northern Afghanistan, where Northern Alliance troops are hoping military support from the United States will clear a path for them to Kabul.

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CHANCE: As the second day of the U.S.-led air strikes against Afghanistan continues, officials of the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban forces here in northern Afghanistan, say they're continuing their bombardment of Taliban positions across the front line north of Kabul.

But they say they've given an order to their troops to stay in their trenches, to bombard but not to advance into Taliban territory at this stage, and not to advance toward Kabul yet. … They say they're talking very closely to coordinate their military efforts with the United States.

CNN: They're holding back, but what is going to be their signal to go ahead and march into the city of Kabul?

CHANCE: Well, it's difficult to say at this stage. They say that they're having ongoing daily talks with U.S. officials to coordinate their military strategy. What some of the Northern Alliance commanders have been telling me down on the front line is that what they want to see is U.S.-led air strikes against Taliban front-line positions … so they can take the mountains and then have a clear run through to the Afghan capital, Kabul.





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