Taliban Jets Bomb Base Near Kabul

KABUL -- Two rebel aircraft dropped at least seven bombs on an Afghan government military base just west of Kabul on Monday, the second air raid near the city in two days, witnesses said.

Government soldiers at the Qargha military base, about 10 kilometers west of Kabul, showed reporters seven fresh bomb craters after the dawn strike. They said one person was wounded, but there was no sign of recent damage to buildings.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dr. Abdullah said Su-22 jets of the Taliban militia had carried out the attack, but had been driven off by anti-aircraft fire.

On Sunday, a plane dropped two bombs on a residential district beneath Kabul's strategic Television Mountain, wounding at least seven people, in an attack the government blamed on the Taliban.

UN special envoy Mahmoud Mestiri has been trying to arrange a cease-fire to forestall a full-scale assault on Kabul threatened by the Taliban since they arrived at the capital's gates two weeks ago.

The Taliban have won control of more than half of Afghanistan since they emerged as a new military power a year ago with the declared aim of sweeping aside quarrelling mujahideen guerrilla factions to install a strict Islamic regime.