USA summing up first results of the operation and launching new series of strikes at targets in Afghanistan

According to a RIA ‘Novosti’ correspondent, there is evidence to suggest that air strikes are being delivered in the city of Gerat area. Bombs that are blowing up can be heard there and the Taliban anti-aircraft artillery is functioning. Fox News reports that four bombs have been dropped on the Kandagar airport. Katar TV company Al-Jazeera, reporting directly from Afghan capital, said that US aircraft had delivered a series of strikes at targets near Kabul. During the last 24 hours, 13 targets were struck on Afghan territory. For the most part, the strikes were being delivered on airports, air defence objects, and Taliban command posts on the whole territory of Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon, all the targets were situated outside cities. Of the 31 targets attacked by aircraft and cruise missiles on Sunday, 85 percent were annihilated. US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld reported at a briefing in the Pentagon that all the airports had been annihilated in Afghanistan, except for one (which one?); though not all the planes and helicopters had been annihilated. Rumsfeld stressed that while studying the results of the strikes, the necessity of repeating strikes at the same objects became clear. During the missile attacks, Taliban fighters were a target. In particular, the strike was delivered at their barracks, Rumsfeld and Richard Mayers, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated. Rumsfeld stated that the strike had been delivered on one of the buildings of the complex used by Talibs’ clerical leader mullah Omar. The secretary also confirmed there were certain pieces of information to suggst that Al-qaeda’s terrorists were leaving Afghanistan, though, according to the secretary, this information was hard to verify. According to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaif, neither Osama bin Laden nor mullah Omar had suffered in the aviation attacks. “They are alive and are hiding in a secret place," Abdul Salam Zaif said. The ambassador denied that military formations of Taliban are demoralized. According to him, the Taliban are preparing for resistance of the US operation. On Tuesday, some reports arrived that on Monday that 40 Taliban commanders had passed on to the Northern Alliance’s side. At the same time, more than 1,200 armed militants from Taliban sub-units joined the Northern Alliance. They blocked the strategically important Bagram-Bamian, which links northern and the southern Afghanistan. According a RIA ‘Novosti’ correspondent in Dashti Kala (Afghanistan), the Northern Alliance is planning to launch an attack by the Takhar group of the Northern Alliance after the neutralization of Taliban fire positions on commanding heights. The attack will be directed to Kabul to set free northern provinces of Afghanistan: Takhar, Kunduz, Baglan, Samangan, and Balkh. Field commanders are being ordered to prepare for launching the offensive in two or three days. US Secretary of State Colin Powel, while phoning Russian Foreign Ministry Igor Ivanov, informed him about the course of the anti-terrorist operation. He stressed that Washington was making an effort to minimalize possible victims among peaceful citizens of Afghanistan while delivering strikes on Taliban military objects and terrorists’ bases." George Bush ordered to sharply limit the number of persons in the US government having access to the secret information about the military operation in Afghanistan. Only the closest aids to the president, several secretaries of the Cabinet and eight members of the US Congress have the access to this information. The US are afraid of retaliatory terrorist acts. The day before, the FBI warned about this possibility. In this connection, George Bush took the decision to appoint two additional aids; one of them will be responsible for protection from terrorist acts’ threat of all computers and information systems of the country and the second one will be responsible for coordination and exchange of information between all intelligent services and US Defence Ministry. Last Friday, Robert Stevens,a photo reporter for the Sun, died of anthrax, whose bacteria were discovered on his computer’s keyboard. On Monday, US authorities confirmed that Ernesto Blanco, the clerk in the same editorial office had become infected with anthrax and had been transported to hospital. Russia's main sanitary doctor Gennadi Onischenko said in his interview for RIA ‘Novosti’ that there were some alerting facts in these cases. Firstly, it is a pulmonary form of anthrax that is almost impossible for the natural course of the disease. Secondly, all the infected persons are citizens working for Sun, while usually people engaged in farming suffer from the disease. Onischenko noticed that bacteria of anthrax were “a good material” for creating bacteriological weapon, though in case of such adiversion, there could have been much more victims. At the same time, it cannot be excluded the diagnosis was wrong, Onishenko said.

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