Jets Pound Taliban Front Lines in Northern Afghanistan
from an article detailing heavy U.S. airstikes in northern Afghanistan
and Northern Alliance preparations to advance on Taleban positions:
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bombers launched a fierce attack Sunday on Taliban frontline
positions in northeast Afghanistan in the heaviest day of bombing
since U.S. planes began targeting the area a week ago.
strikes near the village of Dasht-i-qala were coordinated by
the Northern Alliance commanders and resulted in Taliban casualties,
according to the alliance's vice defense minister.
alliance minister said Taliban radio was crackling with calls
for cars and trucks to move the wounded. He cited Taliban radio
as his source for news that a Taliban Arab commander named Tabuk
bombing began before dawn and lasted for about seven hours.
CNN's Satinder Bindra reported the attacks were so intense,
it was difficult to count the number of explosions.
rushed out of their homes to watch U.S. planes roar overhead as
thunderous explosions sent huge plumes of black smoke over the
front lines where Taliban forces have dug holes and tunnels into
The war in Afghanistan is not a battle between Christians and
Muslims, despite Osama bin Laden's efforts to portray it as
religious conflict, Egyptian Foreign Minster Ahmad Maher said
Sunday. Instead, he said, the fight is between bin Laden and
the world. Maher's response followed bin Laden's assertion that
foreign ministers of 10 Arab nations betrayed Islam by not quitting
the United Nations to protest the military campaign in Afghanistan.
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'Turn Enemy Into Frightened Beasts'
from article describing the impact B52 'stick bombing' is having
on Taliban troops:
Air Force B-52's fly close
together during a bombing raid
on Taliban positions, 11/04/01
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Afghan reporter, newly arrived in Peshawar, describes events
in and around Kabul to Philip Smucker:
the village of Hussein Khil three ambulances stopped to water
the living and the dying. From the rear hatches of the black
vehicles, patients moaned for help.
of blood spread out across the dirt as male nurses, who had
already used their turbans to make tourniquets, sprinted back
to the vehicles to splash the faces of their mutilated charges.
weeks into the bombing campaign, the Taliban and al-Qa'eda were
taking a terrible maiming. The B52 raids have turned bunkers
into craters and brave men into frightened beasts.
the front lines, Mullah Abdul Hadi, 23, glanced out at the bombers
that looked like giant black hawks from his vantage point in
a trench. Wrapped around his forehead, a white bandanna read:
"And the help is from Allah, and the victory is near."
he reached for his walkie-talkie, he began speaking bitterly
to a senior commander. "If this heavy bombing and this
weather keeps up, it's bound to be a horrible winter,"
he said. Even as he spoke, another B52 raid rained 25 bombs
on to a bunker just 100 yards from his position. The soil shuddered
and a dusty mushroom cloud took shape.
only respite from the terror was deep inside the bunkers that
represent Kabul's last line of defence. Inside one, Taliban
and Arab fighters crowded around a tape recorder to listen to
the incantations of the Koran. The words were only just audible
above the blasts from the falling bombs.
far away, the wards of Wazir Akhbar Khan Hospital, Kabul's largest,
were packed with the wounded and dying. Disinfectant reeked
from a room packed with 25 patients, many of them sprawled on
the floor attached to plastic packs of blood.
young man, barely 18, and spreadeagled on the floor, had already
taken on the pale yellow pallor of death as he screamed: "I
just want to meet my mother one more time. Help me, Allah, for
I will die and not see her to tell her I love her." The
young fighter, who had been hit in the side by shrapnel, died
as a nurse raced to check the dead man's pulse, a cold rain
whipped through the window on to the faces of the patients.
Several of them begged for blankets to warm them.
only boost for the Taliban's flagging morale in Kabul was the
arrival of a few thousand Pakistani militants, many of them
from Kashmiri jihad groups that also have past experience of
fighting in Afghanistan.
militants arrived in lorries equipped with loudspeakers blaring
Pathan tribal war songs as well as inspiring Koranic verses.
"This is the great jihad we have all been waiting for,"
said a retired officer with 22 years experience in Pakistan's
army as a special operations expert. ...
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Caused Middle East Catastrophe?
from article describing the evidence regarding a meteor impact
which may have caused a Middle East catastrophe of "biblical
proportions" in ancient times ...
- - begin excerpts - - -
have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact
in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse
of civilisations more than 4,000 years ago.
images of southern Iraq
have revealed a two-mile-wide
impact crater caused by a meteor
of satellite images of southern Iraq have revealed a two-mile-wide
circular depression which scientists say bears all the hallmarks
of an impact crater. If confirmed, it would point to the Middle
East being struck by a meteor with the violence equivalent to
hundreds of nuclear bombs.
crater lies on what would have been shallow sea 4,000 years
ago, and any impact would have caused devastating fires and
catastrophic effect of these could explain the mystery of why
so many early cultures went into sudden decline around 2300
include the demise of the Akkad culture of central Iraq, with
its mysterious semi-mythological emperor Sargon; the end of
the fifth dynasty of Egypt's Old Kingdom, following the building
of the Great Pyramids and the sudden disappearance of hundreds
of early settlements in the Holy Land.
now, archaeologists have put forward a host of separate explanations
for these events, from local wars to environmental changes.
Recently, some astronomers have suggested that meteor impacts
could explain such historical mysteries.
crater's faint outline was found by Dr Sharad Master, a geologist
at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, on satellite
images of the Al 'Amarah region, about 10 miles north-west of
the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates and home of the Marsh
was a purely accidental discovery," Dr Master told The
Telegraph last week. "I was reading a magazine article
about the canal-building projects of Saddam Hussein, and there
was a photograph showing lots of formations - one of which was
very, very circular."
analysis of other satellite images taken since the mid-1980s
showed that for many years the crater contained a small lake.
draining of the region, as part of Saddam's campaign against
the Marsh Arabs, has since caused the lake to recede, revealing
a ring-like ridge inside the larger bowl-like depression - a
classic feature of meteor impact craters.
A date of around 2300 BC for the impact may also cast new light
on the legend of Gilgamesh, dating from the same period. The
legend talks of "the Seven Judges of Hell", who raised
their torches, lighting the land with flame, and a storm that
turned day into night, "smashed the land like a cup",
and flooded the area.
craters recently found in Argentina date from around the same
period - suggesting that the Earth may have been hit by a shower
of large meteors at about the same time.
- - end excerpts - - -
of CNN Videos (October 29 to November 4)
windows for some of the best of recent CNN web videos (Note
- CNN adds videos frequently - see their web
sites for links to all of their video selections):
Christians fear attacks
After recent killings during worship, Pakistani Christians
fear additional attacks by Taliban supporters. CNN's Amanda
Kible reports (November 4)
The bombing campaign continues as the U.S. hits taliban
targets near the strategic city of Mazar-e-sharif. CNN's
Jamie Mcintyre reports (November 2)
rebels building up
Afghanistan's Northern Alliance is equipping fresh troops
along its front line with the Taliban. CNN's Chris Burns
reports (November 1)
targets Taliban strongholds
Pentagon officials say that the U.S. carpet bombed Taliban
front-line positions. CNN Jamie McIntyre reports (November
security debate continues
CNN's Kathleen Koch reports on what U.S. officials and
industry leaders say remains to be done to tighten airline
security (October 31)
Uzbeks Have a Liberal Version of Islam
from article describing the Islamic position of the Tajiks and
Uzbeks, a position which is opposed to the Islamic extremism
of the Taliban and its supporters ...
- - begin excerpts - - -
must be an Islam other than what is commonly supposed. Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan are Muslim countries that border Afghanistan,
but their governments as well as their people support the war
against the Taliban.
most straightforward reason is that the Tajiks and the Uzbeks
are trying to protect their way of life.
would be threatened if the Taliban succeeded in extending their
frontiers, which they have vowed to do in order to set up an
100 per cent Muslim populace of Northern Afghanistan, which
this correspondent visited last week, actively roots for US
success so that the way may be cleared for a US-aided ground
assault against the Taliban.
In the Tajik capital, a housemaid shudders at the thought of
a Taliban victory.
she is more traditionally attired, women in trendy short skirts
can be seen in Dushanbe, and no one is frightened of entering
bars. Many men wear beards but few, if any, rush to pray five
times a day.
Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, everything goes. Pork is freely
sold and eaten.
night life exists too. Women in smart western clothes move around
freely. The veil is nowhere to be seen. At the popular level,
there is some wariness about US political intentions, but everyone
wants the Taliban to be defeated and ousted from power.
as one might, there are no mosques one can see in Tashkent outside
the medieval quarter, or in Dushanbe for that matter.
the 250km long drive from the Tajik capital to the Afghan border,
passing through smaller towns and roadside rural settlements,
only a couple of structures are revealed that look like mosques.
- - end excerpts - - -
Times [link inactive]
1-2-3 (Islam Questions Originally Posted 2/26/99)
26, 1999, I posted some questions regarding the Islam faith,
in the alt.atheism and alt.religion.islam newsgroups. The post
is repeated below for reference and reflection ...
- - begin post - - -
the tenets of Islamic faith (with questions from an Atheist
with a Christian-raised perspective):
is creator of the whole universe.
unity and power resides in God.
is just and merciful.
was the last of the great prophets. Jewish prophets and Jesus
were his predecessors.
How do Muslims reconcile the fundamental Christian beliefs with
their own. Being a prophet is one thing, but claiming to be
the one and only son of God (with a requirement for belief in
said fact or eternal damnation) is quite another thing. Jesus
- merely a prophet? Is the New Testament of the Christian Bible
full of lies and deceit? Does the Koran include an accurate
account of the true Jesus and the true Jewish
history? What's up with this?
Koran forbids the representation of human and animal figures.
It denounces the lending of money with an interest charge for
its use, games of chance, and the consumption of alcohol and
What's with this anti-interest thing? Why would someone
loan someone else money without making anything off of it? By
this tenet, the entire world economy would be driven by a 0%
investment scheme. How the heck would one build up a pension
or retirement fund with such a scheme in place? Is the Koran
suggesting we work our asses off 'til death?
statues of heroes from the past? Give me a break.
gambling, drinking, or bacon. Sounds like totally man-made myth
stuff to me.
on earth is a test and only a preparation for life to come.
Testing 1-2-3, why the heck would God place creatures on earth
for a test? If God is so capricious, silent, and invisible to
conduct a rigid test such as that present on earth, what would
compel one to want to spend eternity with such a deity?
good and obedient will go to heaven.
What defines good and obedient?
is a cardinal sin.
Why? If you do something worthwhile, shouldn't you take
pride in it? Is that tenet suggesting one just does stuff in
a blase and impersonal manner?
of faith: There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.
When/where/how does the Christian God metamorphose into the
Islamic Allah? Why were all of these Christian and Jewish prophets
led into one line of reasoning totally displaced by Mohammed?
Did anyone clue the Jews and Christians in as to the whys and
wherefores of this Islamic awakening?
What's the deal?
Five times a day.
Why? Five times a day seems arbitrary, why not six or four or
ten or ...... what's up with the five a day keeps the doctor
Giving a portion of one's wealth to the needy.
How wealthy do you have to be to qualify for the Zakat?
What portion are we talking here?
Between dawn and dusk during Ramadan.
What's up with this fasting thing? Is it healthy? If you don't
do it, do you lose out on the eternal ticket to heavenly bliss?
Is there an eternal ticket to heavenly bliss?
Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca.
Why Mecca? Do modern Muslims consider a distributed scheme
more worthwhile, with franchises in Paris, Moscow, Beijing,
Melbourne, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, and Monrovia worthy of consideration?
Should humans continue to explore the moons and planets of our
solar system, is bowing towards planet earth OK or is a sojourn
back to planet earth (Mecca) required?
- - end post - - -