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America Strikes Back: Pinpoint Attacks Target Taliban Front Lines

Aired October 22, 2001 - 05:31   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go now to northern Afghanistan and try to hook up with CNN's Matthew Chance. We had technical difficulties earlier.

Matthew, are you with us?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I certainly am Catherine. That's right, some reoccurring technical difficulties here in the remotest northern Afghanistan.

I was going to say though there have been some significant developments here in northern Afghanistan. U.S.-led coalition warplanes continuing to strike overnight at those Taliban forward positions north of the Afghan capital Kabul. It's something we haven't seen that much of, of course, over the course of the three- week now airstrikes of -- over Afghanistan.

It's certainly ratcheting up the pressure on the Taliban, also giving the opposition forces of the Northern Alliance here something they've been asking for, for some time now. They've been looking for close air support of this kind to try and remove those Taliban front- line positions north of Kabul, essentially opening the way for an opposition advance on their ultimate military prize, which is, of course the Afghan capital Kabul itself.

Now we're watching very closely developments on that front-line area right now. It's not clear whether there's been a change in U.S. strategy to actually clear away for good those Taliban front-line positions or whether this was just an example of them, in a sense, appeasing the Northern Alliance demands as they were watching it very closely to see what happens.

CALLAWAY: Matthew, could you tell us about the strikes this weekend? Would you say that they have - that the U.S. strikes are stronger -- are these some of the strongest that you've seen so far?

CHANCE: Well certainly on that front-line area, we haven't really seen many U.S. strikes at all. I witnessed a warm (ph) a few days ago when we were standing down on that frontline. U.S.-led coalition warplanes screeched across the sky and dropped one of its bombs on a position of the - of the Taliban forces north of Kabul.

But what we witnessed yesterday was something a bit different. It was apparently a planned series of pinpoint strikes against the very forward front-line positions of the Taliban. As I say, over the past few weeks, there has been frustration expressed by Northern Alliance commanders here in northern Afghanistan that U.S.-led airstrikes have focused too much on Taliban targets deep inside Afghanistan and not enough on those front-line positions that they fight on a day-to-day basis.

We're just going to wait and see, see whether that strategy has changed or not.

CALLAWAY: All right thank you, CNN's Matthew Chance from inside northern Afghanistan. Thank you.

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