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6/21/2017 8:25:40 PM
Posted: 10/30/2001 10:05:47 PM EDT
Lord, let us hope so! This is from tomorrow's TelegraphNewsUK.com: [size=4]Waves of jets herald the start of Northern Alliance offensive[/size=4] By Julius Strauss in Dashti Qala (Filed: 29/10/2001) THE long-awaited Northern Alliance offensive was ushered in yesterday with an American bombing raid and a volley of tank fire. After weeks of procrastination, anti-Taliban commanders said the campaign to drive terrorism from Afghanistan had finally begun. The Northern Alliance appears to have given up on overrunning Kabul from its positions in the Panjshir valley, at least for this year. But on the dusty plains south of the Tajik border, it has amassed tens of thousands of soldiers for an assault on the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif in the hope that it will change the course of the long civil war. Gen Abdul Aziz, a veteran who had come to inspect the assault, said: "I've been waiting for this for a long time." In the village of Dashti Qala, a mile from the newly awakened front, it was market day and traders arrived on donkeys to sell matches, biscuits and grain. Two soldiers were eating rice and lamb stew at Abdul Samad's, a cafe with posters of Alpine panoramas and Islamic calendars on the wall. One, Bashar, 30, said: "With the Americans in the air and us on the ground, we can defeat the Taliban. Let's just hope their aim is good." The first US strikes came late in the morning, 24 hours behind schedule. On Saturday bombing was postponed as high winds swept through the area choking the air with dust. At dawn, the weather cleared just enough to allow artillery spotters to target enemy positions. From the heights of Ai Khanum - in the time of Alexander the Great one of the world's most beautiful cities, now a sandy ruin - old model Russian tanks blasted the Taliban four miles away. In front-line bunkers, Northern Alliance soldiers, who had waited for this moment for weeks, sheltered against the cold and the American bombs, waiting for the order to go over the top. In Dashti Qala, at the post of Mamur Hassan, one of the region's leading commanders, the sound of planes high overhead, so normal for a Westerner, brought a magic hush. The commander's son and second-in-command, Ataullah, a serious 20-year-old wearing an Afghan tunic and camouflage jacket, rushed into the family house to give his father the news. - continued -
Link Posted: 10/30/2001 10:08:40 PM EDT
Soldiers in the courtyard stopped what they were doing and squinted into the sky to try to make out the silhouettes of the planes. The first strikes were best seen from Ai Khanum, where seven T55 tanks are dug in and sandbagged. First there were two bombs together, then two more. Muhammad Rafur, a veteran of the war against the Soviets, beamed. He said: "It is a wonderful sound. I am happy and the whole world should be happy too that we are going to defeat this evil." A few minutes later a Russian lorry came scrambling to the top of the hill, disgorging a dozen ragged soldiers. A stocky commander wearing a Russian uniform, wire-framed sunglasses and a black and white scarf pulled over his military cap began barking orders. "Quick. To the tanks." The soldiers ran, Kalashnikovs on their backs and tunics flying in the wind. Then the tanks began to fire. There was a crack, then a deep resonant drone as the shells sailed through the air followed by a distant explosion. A column of earth and sand marked the point of impact. "This is the beginning of the attack," Cmdr Shirindel Sahil said with satisfaction. "We will wait for more bombing and then we move. This time we will succeed. First Taloqan, then Kunduz, then the whole of Afghanistan." Every few minutes the roar of the jets could be heard. Lunchtime came and in a small bunker hidden under a ledge two young soldiers prepared an onion and potato gruel over a wood fire. There were two more strikes, one showering cluster bombs that made little puffs of smoke as they exploded, the other a large bomb that sent a flame into the air. On the banks of the River Kukcha, the boys who ferry travellers across on horseback for a fee were gathering. Any injured Northern Alliance soldiers will be evacuated along this route: by lorry, then horse, then Jeep. In the late afternoon, there were two more strikes, sending up plumes of smoke. As darkness fell the bombing continued. The commander showed that he had learned patience during 25 years of fighting. He said: "Today was only a test and their aim was not perfect. But I am content. If this keeps up on the fourth day we will send our soldiers in on the ground." Eric The(OurHeartsAreOnTheAfghanPlains)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 10/30/2001 11:07:55 PM EDT
I dunno, I'd say they've been pretty offensive for about ten years now. That's why they were booted out the first time. . . .
Link Posted: 10/30/2001 11:24:10 PM EDT
So they were [b]worse[/b] than the Taliban? Is that what you're saying? Eric The(CauseIfItIs...)Hun[>]:)]
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