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Posted: 11/6/2001 5:50:16 AM EDT
Special forces are 'painting' Afghan targets for US strikes. US aircraft began bombing Taliban frontline positions north of Kabul on 21 October, apparently assisted by special forces personnel operating from Bagram air base 'painting' targets with laser-designators. New air strikes were launched the following day. The 21 October strikes came during the afternoon and evening and involved sorties by three and four US Navy fighters respectively, according to opposition United Front (UF) military sources. The aircraft hit Taliban and allied positions in Qala-e-Basir and Gheir-e-Qol villages on the frontline opposite UF-held Bagram airbase some 45km north of Kabul. An intelligence officer of the UF's 515 Brigade, based at Bagram, said 30 Taliban troops died in the afternoon raid alone, adding that most were Pakistanis. US special forces activity has apparently increased in northern Afghanistan in recent days. One special forces team, believed to be an intelligence liaison group, is presently based in the Panjshir Valley, close to the Shomali plain and the frontlines north of Kabul. Another group was last week operating with UF Uzbek leader Gen Abdul Rashid Dostam in a UF-controlled pocket in northern Samangan province from which opposition forces have been attacking Mazar-e Sharif city, according to Gen Dostam, who spoke to JDW by telephone. Major Taliban and allied concentrations, including several thousand Arab, Pakistani and other foreign militants, are grouped along the Shomali front north of Kabul; and in a wide defensive arc west of the Kokcha River screening the northeastern town of Taloqan, which the UF lost in September 2000.
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