by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
October 7, 2001
U.S., BRITAIN LAUNCH AIR WAR ON AFGHANISTAN
WASHINGTON Oct. 7, 2001 -- Acting on orders from President George W. Bush, 40 American bombers struck military targets in Afghanistan this morning and a British submarine launched Tomahawk missiles against Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in response to the Sept. 11 attacks that killed thousands of Americans at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The war began after the Taliban-controlled government refused for the last time to hand over the terrorists who are believed to have committed the attacks against New York and Washington that claimed at least 6,000 lives.
"None of these demands were met and now the Taliban will pay the price," the President declared in an unscheduled Sunday morning address to the nation. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also spoke to the world from London in support of the attacks. Meanwhile, France, Germany and oher nations revealed that they will lend troops to the effort to topple the Taliban government and capture Osama bin Laden. At least 40 nations have joined the coalition aimed at ending global terrorism.
Pentagon officials said 40 B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers and some 50 Cruise missiles struck airfields, Army bases and other military and government targets near Kabul, Kandihar, Herat and Jalalabad Sunday night even as C-17s prepared to drop some 37,500 ration packets as Monday dawned for hungry Afghan refugees waiting in territories controlled by the rebel Northern Alliance that is fighting the Taliban government.
Afghan sources said that both Afghanistan's current leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, were uninjured in the attacks, which destroyed Omar's residence and struck a terrorist training camp 12 miles south of Kandihar, news reports said.
"Americans will never taste safety and security again," bin Laden said in a pre-recorded video from a cave somewhere in Afghanistan that was released on Afghan television.
The military strikes, which may include a limited deployment of ground forces and damage reconaissance teams, will continue for some time, Bush Administration spokesmen including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said. "If there was a large number of American forces on the ground, that would be known," Rumsfeld said.
In the United States, the FBI asked law enforcement agencies in the nation's cities and towns to go on the "highest level" of alert against possible terrorist reprisals. Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials have said that there is strong likelihood that other terrorist attacks in the domestic United States are planned.