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DATE=8/24/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=AFGHAN EXPLOSION (L) NUMBER=2-253088 BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A powerful explosion has shaken the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. As V-O-A's Scott Anger reports, the cause of the explosion is not yet known. TEXT: The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press says the explosion has caused a number of casualties but no details are available. The news agency quotes witnesses as saying the powerful blast blew out windows in a wide area of the city. Electricity is reportedly out and communication to the area has become difficult. Kandahar is the administrative headquarters of the politically dominant Taleban Islamic movement in Afghanistan. A-I-P says the explosion damaged the house of Taleban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, who was reportedly not at home at the time of the blast. Residents say they feared the explosion might have been another attack by the United States against alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden, who is living under the protection of the Taleban somewhere in Afghanistan. The United States says it had nothing to do with Tuesday's explosion. Last August, the United States launched a cruise missile attack against suspected terrorist training camps run by Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan. The Saudi dissident is wanted by the United States. Washington has accused him of masterminding the bombings of the U-S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a year ago, which killed more than 200 people. The U-S is offering 5- million dollars for information leading to Mr. bin Laden's arrest and conviction. Washington has been pressuring the Taleban to extradite Mr. bin Laden and has imposed economic sanctions against the hard-line Islamic movement, which controls most of Afghanistan. (Signed) NEB/SA/TVM/JO 24-Aug-1999 16:54 PM EDT (24-Aug-1999 2054 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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