AFGHANISTAN - Oct. 7 - US/UK Air & Missile Assault.
US and British forces launch a thunderous air assault on military targets and suspected terrorist camps across the country, using scores of planes and ships massed over the past month to retaliate for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. The attacks come first from about 50 Tomahawk tomahawk [from an Algonquian dialect of Virginia], hatchet generally used by Native North Americans as a hand weapon and as a missile. The earliest tomahawks were made of stone, with one edge or two edges sharpened (sometimes the stone was globe shaped). cruise missiles launched by US planes and US and British submarines. Each Tomahawk carries an explosive warhead of about 1,000 pounds. They come also from about 15 long-range, land-based B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, as well as 25 strike aircraft based on aircraft carriers. The B-2s flew from their base in Missouri in the US, and other planes flew from the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia Diego Garcia, coral island, 11 sq mi (28 sq km). Indian Ocean, largest island of the Chagos Archipelago, SW of Sri Lanka. Part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the island was leased (1970) to the United States and later developed as a joint U.S. in the Indian Ocean Indian Ocean, third largest ocean, c.28,350,000 sq mi (73,427,000 sq km), extending from S Asia to Antarctica and from E Africa to SE Australia; it is c.4,000 mi (6,400 km) wide at the equator. It constitutes about 20% of the world's total ocean area. . The attacks are aimed at the Taliban's air force and military airports, and radar and air defence units. Air strikes hit several cities including the capital Kabul, the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south, and Jalalabad in the north-east.
In Kabul, the targets included the airport, presidential palace and national TV and radio facilities. In Kandahar, the attacks hit the airport, destroying radar facilities and the control tower. The strikes target housing units built for members of Bin Ladin's Al Qaida. They also hit the Taliban national headquarters in Kandahar. Smoke is reported billowing bil·low
1. A large wave or swell of water.
2. A great swell, surge, or undulating mass, as of smoke or sound.
v. bil·lowed, bil·low·ing, bil·lows
1. from the high-walled compound of Taliban leader Mullah mullah
Muslim title applied to a scholar or religious leader, especially in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. It means “lord” and has also been used in North Africa as an honorific attached to the name of a king, sultan, or member of the nobility. Mohammad Omar Individuals named Mohammad Omar, or a variant thereof, include:
Mullah Mohammed Omar survived the assaults. He branded the US and British actions "a terrorist attack" and said the US "will never achieve its goal".
US Pres. Bush said the US and its allies acted because the Taliban rulers had ignored an ultimatum he gave them more than two weeks ago to close terrorist training camps and hand over suspected terrorist leaders, including the Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Ladin. He added: "The battle is now joined on many fronts. Now the Taliban will pay a price". The Taliban claimed they had shot down one plane, but Gen. Richard Myers
General Richard Bowman Myers USAF (Ret. , chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, reported no losses in the first wave of air attacks. US officials said it was too early to judge whether the strikes were effective. The State Department warned Americans abroad that its attacks on Afghanistan might lead to retaliation aimed at US citizens and interests. Bush said the attacks would likely drive Al Qaida militants deeper into hiding. But allied operations would "clear the way for sustained, comprehensive and relentless operations to drive them out and bring them to justice". The attacks were carried out only by US and British forces, but Bush said forces were promised by Canada, Australia, Germany and France. He said more than 40 countries granted air transit or landing rights, and "many more" shared intelligence. US and British forces used the airspace of Pakistan to launch some of their attacks. The NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. was not directly involved in the attacks, but it will soon deploy AWACS AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System)
Mobile, long-range radar surveillance-and-control centre for air defense. Used by the U.S. Air Force since 1977, AWACS is mounted in a specially modified Boeing 707 aircraft, with its main radar antenna affixed to a rotating dome. surveillance aircraft in the US, filling a US request for support of anti-terrorist operations.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld listed the objectives of the assault as: making it clear to the Taliban that "harbouring terrorists carries a price"; acquiring intelligence for further operations against the Taliban and Al Qaida; developing ties to opposition groups; making it more difficult for terrorists to reside in Afghanistan; making coalition operations easier by attacking Taliban offensive systems; and providing humanitarian aid to Afghan people. Two C-17 cargo planes began dropping food and medicine to Afghan citizens. On Oct. 8, military targets in Afghanistan came under attack from US cruise missiles and bombs for a second night and into the daylight hours. Explosions were again reported in Kabul and Kandahar. Gen. Myers said 10 land-based bomber aircraft and 10 carrier-based aircraft were involved in the Oct. 8 attacks, as well as Tomahawk land attack missiles fired from US destroyers in the Arabian Sea. US military transport planes dropped 37,000 packages of food rations, but relief officials worried that US-led military strikes were making the country's food emergency significantly worse. The food packages will feed only a small fraction of the 7.5m Afghans believed to be in danger of serious hunger or starvation as cold weather approaches.