Taliban execute five more opposition commanders

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Taliban forces claimed today to have hanged five opposition commanders captured after a repelling an attack on the Taliban stronghold of Mazar-e-Sharif.

If true, this would be a demoralizing blow to opposition forces already reeling from the summary Taliban execution yesterday of Abdul Haq, a key Afghan opposition leader.

The Taliban claimed to have beaten back a new opposition push at Samangan province at the Mazar-e-Sharif front. The five opposition commanders captured in the battle on Friday were publicly hanged, Taliban officials told the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press.

Yesterday, Taliban forces captured and hanged an opposition leader, Abdul Haq, who had crossed into Afghanistan to convince Afghan tribal leaders to abandon the Taliban and throw their support to exiled former Afghan king Mohammad Zaher Shah.

Haq's body and those of two companions executed with him have been taken to Kabul, and would be handed over to relatives, the Taliban said today.

Overnight raids at Kabul claimed at least two civilian lives, said Dr Mohammed Ullah, a physician at the hospital where the bodies were taken.

Shrapnel from bombing killed one man, Dr Ullah said. A stray bullet struck the other victim on his rooftop as he watched the red tracer flares of Taliban gunners taking aim at high-flying U.S. jets.

US jets returned at sunrise Saturday, pounding near northern hills on the city's edge, toward Kabul's airport ? a repeated target of attacks.

In Washington, meanwhile, the Pentagon admitted US warplanes mistakenly dropped eight tons of bombs on Red Cross warehouses in Kabul ? an embarrassing repeat of a similar error 10 day ago.

The Pentagon said the latest Red Cross bombings were apparently "due to a human error in the targeting process."