Attack Spotlight

WASHINGTON?American bombing has yet to eliminate the danger to U.S. warplanes over Afghanistan, and the United States is working with anti-Taliban forces on the ground to pinpoint threatening military targets, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday.

?We have to acknowledge the reality that there is still an air defense threat to the United States,? Rumsfeld told reporters.

Five days of bombing Osama bin Laden?s al Qaeda network and the Taliban rulers who shield it have taken aim at major targets. But the attacks have not suppressed all the anti-aircraft guns, surface-to air missiles and portable missiles?like the Stinger?that riddle Afghanistan, Rumsfeld said.

?That is a fact, and we have been attempting to reduce that,? Rumsfeld said after meeting with Tom Ridge, the new director of homeland security.

Rumsfeld was asked if the United States was getting information from the rebels in the northern alliance that could be used to strike at al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Information, he said, was coming ?from the ground, and to the extent it’s actionable?we then are using it for targeting.?

At a Pentagon briefing, Marine Maj. Gen. Henry Osman, a senior planner for the Joint Staff, said U.S. officials were in touch with the alliance, but were not coordinating targets with the rebels.

Rumsfeld did not voice support for any particular opposition group and said Afghans will shape the future of their country. As for bin Laden?s whereabouts, Rumsfeld said the Saudi exile probably remains in hiding in Afghanistan.

On Capitol Hill, two northern alliance representatives, Haron Amin and Daoud Mir, met with Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., in a follow-up visit to a meeting in June, said Lisa Harrison, Smith’s spokeswoman,.

Osman said Wednesday?s raids included seven targets, including Taliban troops, vehicle-repair facilities and anti-aircraft sites.

Osman displayed four before and-after pictures showing damage to targets. Among them were surface-to-air missiles, a motor pool, a radio station in Kabul, the capital and parked aircraft.

The Pentagon also released its first gun camera videotape of weapons striking a missile site. It exploded in a fireball and sent at least one of the Taliban missiles spiraling out of control through the smoke.

?We?re satisfied at this point that the attacks have been successful,? Osman said.

Many in the Pentagon joined President Bush for an outdoor memorial service held one month after the attacks in New York and Washington.

?On September 11, great sorrow came to our country, and from that sorrow has come great resolve,? Bush said. Thousands gathered under a huge American flag, out of sight of the gaping hole that still marks the entry point where a hijacked airliner plowed into the building, killing 189.

Meanwhile, an Air Force sergeant was killed in a heavy equipment accident in Qatar?the first death in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Master Sgt. Evander Earl Andrews was assigned to the 366th Civil Engineer Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He was originally from Maine, base officials said.

Thursday also marked the first daylight raids on Kabul. Heavy explosions rocked the airport while earlier in the day, civilians fled the southern Afghan city of Kandahar as raids there targeted a compound where followers of Osama bin Laden had lived.