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November 1, 2001
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Afghanistan's biggest dam hit in US strikes

K J M Varma in Islamabad

After the overnight carpet-bombing that damaged Afghanistan's biggest dam and power station and severely disrupted the Taleban's lines of communication, United States warplanes on Thursday pounded the militia's positions on the northeastern frontline close to the border with Tajikistan.

The Afghan Islamic Press quoting Taleban education minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the biggest dam and Kajaki hydroelectric power station in Helmand province were badly damaged in the strikes, cutting electricity to Kandahar and Lashkarga cities.

"So far, water has not started gushing out of the dam, but any further bombing will destroy it. It may cause widespread flooding, putting at risk lives of thousands of people," Muttaqi was quoted as saying.

Pentagon spokesman John Stufflebeem said in Washington that the US forces had severely disrupted Taleban's lines of communications to the point that the militia's leaders probably did not know as to how many troops they had lost.

The break in communications had also degraded the Taleban's ability to send orders to the field and coordinate reinforcement and re-supply, he said. More than 50 jets, including half-a-dozen B1s and B52s, dropped hundreds of unguided bombs all over the country, he added.

He said reports of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts had come consistently from Kabul and Kandahar and these two cities had been the regular targets of US forces.

PTI

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