Clancy: Fight for Kandahar
(CNN) -- Airstrikes hit the airport east of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday, as the fight continued for control of the Taliban's last stronghold.
CNN's Jim Clancy, in Kabul, filed this report.
CLANCY: Intense fighting has been reported in Kandahar, that southern Afghan city that is the stronghold of the Taliban. U.S. airstrikes continue almost around the clock in and around Kandahar. At the same time, ethnic Pashtun leaders are pressing their attack as well.
The airport is half in control of the ethnic Pashtun fighters, the anti-Taliban forces. Fierce fighting is taking place there, according to one commander. He said the troops are almost face-to-face with the Taliban that has vowed to fight to the death.
Meantime, to the north, the forces of Hamid Karzai, the ethnic Pashtun leader that has been named, at least tentatively, to head up a new interim government in Afghanistan -- his forces are said to be making progress against the Taliban, but the Taliban say that they have killed many of their fighters around the north of Kandahar and that they have seized some of their vehicles.
Of course, none of this can be confirmed.
Meantime, U.S. Marines at Camp Rhino were joined by an unknown number of Australian troops who landed earlier on Tuesday. Those Australian forces already had a liaison officer in place, as do the Germans right now. The Marines continue to dig in there at Camp Rhino, southwest of Kandahar. They are also said to be conducting reconnaissance missions out into the desert.
Now, the exact mission of these Marines is not known. They are, of course, within striking distance of Kandahar. But there's no sign right now that they are going to be used for any direct assault on that last Taliban stronghold.
CNN: You're right there in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Could you give us some idea of what the situation is on the streets of the capital?
CLANCY: There's a lot of reaction, of course, this day to the talks in Bonn. Many people here are looking forward to seeing some kind of a resolution to the political situation here. They are gaining confidence in the future of Afghanistan, but they are still very worried. They are concerned, too, about the situation because so many of the people that are gathered in Bonn are expatriates that haven't lived here. They've been living in exile. As a result of that, they fear they don't understand the situation on the ground.
And when I say the people of Kabul are a bit nervous, they're living in a city that was destroyed by Northern Alliance internal fighting in 1992 -- not the Taliban, not the Soviets. That is what caused much of the destruction in this city. They are taking a wait-and-see attitude as to what comes out of Bonn. Still, they remain hoping for the best.
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