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Tuesday, October 09, 2001, updated at 23:28(GMT+8)

US Launches New Wave of Airstrikes Against Afghanistan: CNN Report

The United States launched new miltary strikes Tuesday night against Afghanistan, hitting the western city of Herat, CNN confirmed.

There were reports of bombs falling around the city and anti-aircraft fire near the Herat airport, around 7:20 p.m. (10:50 a.m. EDT).

The third straight night of attacks followed the first daylight assaults in the US-led war against terrorism. Explosions rocked the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, and the Taliban said its headquarters was hit.

East of Kabul, at least four local employees of a UN-funded mine-clearing operation were killed during the US airstrikes when a missile hit the building where they work, the United Nations said. The building sits next to a tranmission tower used by the Taliban that may have been the intended target.

The second round of US strikes began Monday night and continued into Tuesday, targeting military runways, aircraft, surface-to-air missile sites, airports and terror training camps. A source at the British Ministry of Defense said Afghanistan's terrorist camps "have been seriously damaged."

CNN sources said bombs also hit a populated area of Kabul near a military hospital, which has been used to treat civilians as well. The hospital was not damaged and it was not known whether there were casualties, the sources said.

In Kandahar, the roar of aircraft and anti-aircraft fire could be heard over a CNN videophone.

"This is coming about three hours after dawn there," said CNN's Nic Robertson from Islamabad, citing sources in Kandahar. "Now they are saying they're hearing aircraft in the air. anti-aircraft fire and explosions."

Latest developments

  • Investigators are looking at whether a letter that came into the mailroom of a Florida tabloid publishing company could be the source of anthrax bacteria that killed an employee, a law enforcement source confirmed to CNN. Doctors in Virginia, meanwhile, said initial tests were negative for a man who was thought to have been exposed to anthrax.

  • A Taliban official said Tuesday that suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and supreme Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar were alive and still in Afghanistan, and that the latest U.S. military strikes had not resulted in any Taliban casualties. The Pentagon confirmed that Omar's house near Kandahar was a target, but Taliban officials said he had left shortly before the attack.

  • The U.S. military planned to continue food drops in Afghanistan on Tuesday, with a second load of 37,000 ready-to-eat meals. But the international aid agency Doctors Without Borders criticized the aid drops as "a piece of military propaganda aimed at making the US-led attack more acceptable to international opinion."

  • In Pakistan, three Muslim clerics were placed under house arrest for three months to prevent more anti-American demonstrations during the Afghan bombing campaign. But protests continued on Tuesday, including one in which three people were killed.

  • German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is traveling to Washington for hastily arranged talks with U.S. President George W. Bush, the German government announced. German forces are not involved in the airstrikes against the Taliban, though Schroeder has said Germany supports the strikes.

  • About 200 members of an Indonesian radical Islamic group staged a vigil outside the US Embassy in Jakarta early Tuesday. Handing out pamphlets calling for a holy war against the United States, the supporters of the Defenders of Islam group were all that remained after 500 demonstrators peacefully answered a call for "all Muslims" to besiege the embassy.

  • The United States and Great Britain notified the U.N. Security Council Monday as to why it undertook military strikes against Afghanistan, and reserved the right to strike against other countries as part of the war against terrorism, administrators and British officials told CNN.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration is limiting all airline passengers to one carry-on bag and one personal article such as a purse or briefcase, an FAA official told CNN. Experts said the move would give screeners more time to examine bags and passengers closely.

  • US officials told the United Nations that its anti-terrorist campaign could lead to strikes on nations other than Afghanistan.

    Amnesty International called on the United States, its allies and the Taliban to respect human rights in the wake of the airstrikes.

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    The United States launched new miltary strikes Tuesday night against Afghanistan, hitting the western city of Herat, CNN confirmed.

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