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Britain: Offensive Hit 30 Targets

October 8, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ The U.S.-British offensive against Afghanistan hit 30 targets in that country ranging from military installations to terrorist training camps, the government said Monday.

In the first official assessment of the attacks, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said 30 targets had been hit and damage was inflicted. He said that no civilian areas had been hit.

Admiral Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff, said three targets were in Kabul, four were near inhabited areas and the other 23 were in remote, uninhabited areas.

The offensive centered on knocking out Taliban anti-aircraft defenses and the Central Asian country’s tiny air force, Boyce said. Camps and training facilities of the al-Qaida network of terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden were also hit, he said.

Further operations were imminent and British warplanes were being sent to the area to back up U.S. forces, he said.

Asked if ground forces would be sent in to Afghanistan, Hoon said that ``was clearly an option.″

But he said it was possible the Taliban would collapse under the pressure of the air strikes and that Western ground troops would not have to be deployed in a hostile environment.

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