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Explosions shake Afghanistan capital

©Associated Press

Explosions could be heard early Wednesday north of the capital, in the vicinity of the airport. Large plumes of smoke were seen.

The explosions began around 2:30 a.m. and came in rapid succession, seconds apart, making buildings shudder.

There were no sounds of airplanes or anti-aircraft fire.

Officials could not be reached at the airport.

Taliban soliders in the center of Kabul said the explosions seemed to begin with a low flying helicopter that fired rockets into the area at the airport. There was some return fire by Taliban with anti-aircraft weapons, the soldiers said.

The explosions came hours after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

American officials said the United States was not involved in the Kabul explosions.

"It isn't us. I don't know who's doing it. But I say it isn't us," Pentagon spokesman Craig Quigley told The Associated Press when asked about the explosions in Kabul.

Another U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the fighting in Kabul appeared to be rocket attacks by Afghan rebels opposing the ruling Taliban in response to the attack on a rebel general over the weekend.

Afghanistan's hardline Taliban rulers condemned the attacks in New York and Washington and rejected suggestions that Osama bin Laden, who's being protected by the Afghanistan government, could be behind them.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said bin Laden was a suspect in the U.S. attacks.

The explosions were in the direction of the front line where Afghan's Taliban soldier are lined up against opposition forces. Fighting in that area has increased in recent but this would be first major assault by opposition forces so close to the capital.

It was impossible to travel in the streets because of a nighttime curfew, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

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