US bombers pound suspected Al-Qaeda hideouts


US warplanes are continuing to bombard suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban hideouts in eastern Afghanistan today.

After a night of raids, US warplanes today bombed cave complexes in the Zhawar area, 19 miles southwest of Khost, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said. The bombers have hit the area hard for several days but today was the first time they had flown by day, AIP said.

The US aircraft appeared to be dropping very large bombs. The residents of the Pakistani town of Bannu, 50 miles away from Zhawar, said they could hear the rumble of distant explosions and feel the ground shake.

The bombers were preparing the way for US ground patrols to search the caves and tunnels for fugitives, the Pakistan-based AIP said.

The Zhawar area has housed cave complexes and training centers for generations of fighters, dating back to Afghanistan's war against the Soviets in the 1980s.

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network ran a guerrilla training base in the Zhawar area and al-Qaeda fighters were believed to have recently regrouped there after weeks of military defeats.