Skip to main content /WORLD

Rebel group behind Kabul strike

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Explosions have rocked the capital city of Kabul, hours after terrorist attacks targeted financial and military centers in the United States.

A rebel group fighting against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson stood on a balcony for a live report around 2:30 a.m. local time (6 p.m. ET), while explosions boomed behind him. A fire was visible on the horizon, near the city's airport.

Sources there said an ammunition storage facility was hit.

Robertson said a spokesman for the rebel group Northern Alliance, led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, claimed responsibility for the early morning attack and promised more strikes were to come.

The attack comes after an assassination attempt Sunday against Massoud. The rebel leader's brother said Massoud was wounded in the attack, but U.S. officials received information that the leader was killed.

Massoud, a former defense minister under the deposed government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, fled to the hills of northern Afghanistan after the Taliban Islamic militia captured Kabul in 1996.

The Northern Alliance controls 5 percent to 10 percent of the country's territory.

Robertson said tracer fire was also seen early Wednesday morning, and anti-aircraft fire was heard.

Afghanistan is believed to be the home of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind suspected to be behind Tuesday's deadly attacks that toppled the landmark twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and a portion of the Pentagon near Washington.

The editor of a Pakistani newspaper with ties to bin Laden told CNN that bin Laden denied involvement in any of the attacks.

"I am not involved in this actions in New York and Washington, but I support these actions. I see them as a reaction against the oppressor," he said in a written statement.

He added, "When the innocent people were killed in Palestine, why were the people of America silent?"

U.S. officials said that while the focus is on bin Laden, they had not ruled out other suspects.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the United States had not ordered any attacks on Afghanistan.

At a news conference in Kabul hours after the attacks on the United States, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Wakeel Ahmed Mutawakkel said, "We in Afghanistan do not allow Osama bin Laden to use Afghan territory to launch any attack on any government around the world."

He said the Afghan government had taken away bin Laden's communication devices "and he has not been in touch with anyone outside Afghanistan."

But Mutawakkel said the Taliban will conduct its own investigation. "We will determine what really happened. We denounce this terrorist attack, whoever is behind it."

Back to the top