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A second wave of missile and air strikes has been launched targetting Kandahar.
Reports out of Afghanistan indicate that this is of a much higher intensity than the first wave, which was a more broad-based strike against Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad.
The latest strikes are believed to be pin-pointing key Taleban installations in Kandahar, which is the preferred headquarters of Taleban supreme commander Mullah Mohammad Omar.
AIWACS aircraft -- command craft that carry field commanders of the US Air Force -- are reportedly now stationed over Afghan skies, directing the waves of fighters and bombers coming in for strikes against specific targets within the Taleban-held regions.
Pentagon sources quoted by various television agencies indicate that the first phase of the mission is intended to knock out the Taleban's air defences, including anti-aircraft guns, as also cripple Taleban-held airports. The idea, sources indicate, is to ensure that the Taleban has no air defence before the operation moves into the second phase, when US and British ground troops are expected to push towards key Taleban targets.
Reports out of Afghanistan indicate that Kabul airport has almost entirely been destroyed. Other targets include various ammunition dumps in Taleban-controlled territory.
Another prime target that has been hit has been Khundus Airport in the north -- a move that analysts say could be in order to cripple the Taleban in that region and free up Northern Alliance troops to move forward.
Meanwhile, reports from along the Afghan borders speak of waves of US bombers having flown overhead from the direction of Russia, indicating that the allied forces have opted to use Russian, as opposed to Pakistani, bases.
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