U.S. Launches Strikes in Afghanistan

AP Photo

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Thunderous explosions and the rattle of anti-aircraft fire were heard Sunday night in the Afghan capital Kabul, as the United States launched military retaliation in Afghanistan. Electricity was shut off throughout the city.

CNN meanwhile reported explosions in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, where the headquarters of the ruling Taliban militia is located. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar lives in Kandahar.

The first explosions could be heard about 8:57 p.m. local time, or 12:27 p.m. EDT, when it is dark in Kabul. Five large explosions shook the city, followed by the sounds of anti-aircraft fire.

Power went off throughout the city almost immediately after the first of five thunderous blasts.

There was no indication what caused the blasts, which appeared to have been in the southwest of the city.

The southwestern part of Kabul includes the Darulaman Palace, an ancient royal residence, and the Balahisar Fort, an old Mogul style installation.

A curfew was in effect in the city, making it impossible to independently determine further details.

The firing tapered off for a few minutes but resumed after a jet aircraft could be heard passing over the city.

In Washington, President Bush (news - web sites) prepared to address the nation Sunday.

``We are beginning another front in our war against terrorism so freedom can prevail over fear,'' Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) said.

The retaliation came a day after Bush warned the ruling Taliban militia that time was running out for them to hand over alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) and his lieutenants or face the consequences.

Bin Laden is the main suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.