U.S. strikes on Afghanistan continue for third day

The air assault against Afghanistan, now into its third day, claimed the lives of four Afghan security guards for a United Nations mine-clearing program, the Associated Press reported.

Early today, jets bombed the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, Taliban officials said. Taliban soldiers replied with heavy anti-aircraft fire. There was no immediate confirmation from the Pentagon that the attacks were from the U.S.-led coalition. A Pentagon spokesman said officials would not comment on each individual strike because they are part of a "continuous operation."

As part of the administration's new "homeland defense" focus, the administration formally announced today its choices to oversee cybersecurity and to coordinate anti-terror efforts with military and intelligence officials.

Richard Clarke, who currently heads the government's counterterrorism team, will direct efforts to protect the nation's information systems from attack and retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing was to work with military and intelligence resources, according to administration sources.

A U.N. spokeswoman in Pakistan said U.N. security guards for Afghan Technical Consultants, which had an office in a village two miles east of Kabul, were killed in Monday night's attacks. Their office was not far from a Taliban communications tower that may have been a target.

Targets in Monday's raids included areas around the capital, the Taliban's home base of Kandahar, and northern Afghanistan, where the opposition, the Northern Alliance, is battling the Taliban.

U.S. officials said the strikes were likely to continue at least one more day as part of the effort to undermine the Taliban regime and rout bin Laden's Al-Queda network of terrorists.

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