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In the heaviest bombing in the five days of strikes against Afghanistan, United States fighter jets continued their onslaught on Kabul and Kandahar on Thursday.
After the overnight bombardment that brought ferocious detonations in and around Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad, the US launched fresh air strikes on Thursday morning on the Afghan capital.
At least 30 explosions were heard during the raids, reports reaching Islamabad said.
A Pakistan government spokesman was quoted as saying that non-combat US personnel had also arrived in the country. He did not give their numbers.
A Pakistani daily reported that American planes had landed at the heavily guarded Jacobabad airport in southern Sindh province for possible use in strikes against Afghanistan.
Quoting eyewitnesses, the daily Dawn said at least 10 US military aircraft and three helicopters were seen parked at the Jacobabad airport. The eyewitnesses also claimed to have seen dozens of American military personnel.
Two or three battalions of the Pakistan Army had moved in from Pano Aqil cantonment to guard the airport, the daily said.
Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said the US jets and missiles attacked a Taleban military base at Shamshad, six kilometres from Pakistan border.
The Kandahar airport terminal was reported to have been destroyed during the relentless bombing.
For the first time, US military officials confirmed that they had used the deadly 2.2 tonne "cave busting" bombs on hidden Taleban positions. They also indicated likely commando raids and said helicopter gunships might be used for selective missions.
A senior Taleban official was quoted as saying that the bombings had destroyed a mosque in Jalalabad and inflicted a "large number of casualties".
Prior to the latest series of attacks, the Taleban officials had put the number of civilian casualties at 76.
Meanwhile, US intelligence officials in Washington claimed that several top ranking Taleban leaders had been killed during the first day of raids on Sunday night. However, they did not identify any of them.
Wednesday night: Fresh attack on Kabul
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