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Posted: 3/7/2002 8:49:02 PM EDT
U.S. Says Many Afghan Rebel Casualties Overnight Fri Mar 8,12:27 AM ET BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S.-led attacks on al Qaeda forces in eastern Afghanistan (news - web sites) caused lots of casualties in overnight fighting, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday. However, Lt. Col. Joe Smith said the U.S.-led force was facing hardened fighters of "the type who executed the events of September 11" and they were standing their ground. "There were lots of al Qaeda casualties overnight in the fighting," he told a news conference at Bagram Air Base on the outskirts of Kabul which has became a main location for the battle 95 miles south of the capital. He said the military had anticipated the snow and bad weather at present covering the six-mile front line but gave no details on how badly it had affected operations. As the battle about 20 miles from Gardez, capital of Paktia province near the Pakistani border, ended its first week, Smith said "Operation Anaconda" would only be conclusively won by ground troops. "This is a ground-centric battle. That is why we have boots on the ground," he said. "They are professional soldiers (we are facing)." Operation Anaconda, the biggest U.S.-led battle of the five-month Afghan war, involves about 1,500 U.S. and Afghan ground troops against more than 1,000 rebel forces holed up in caves and bunkers in 10,000-feet snow-covered mountains. It was launched last Saturday to wipe out a major hideout of the Taliban and al Qaeda, the network of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), chief suspect in the September 11 attacks on the United States. At least eight U.S. troops and seven Afghan soldiers have been killed in the operation and about 40 U.S. and 30 Afghan troops have been wounded. Since the battle started, the U.S. military has sent in up to 300 extra troops, 17 attack helicopters and several A-10 aircraft with rapid-fire cannon and rockets to counter a flow of fresh al Qaeda and Taliban fighters believed to have joined the fight. Afghan commanders worry that snow and high winds sweeping the battlefield could last for several days and may limit U.S. air support and allow rebels to slip away.
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Link Posted: 3/7/2002 8:57:00 PM EDT
How bad is bad? Check these out: [center][img]http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20020307/capt.1015491664.afghanistan_dust_battle_ny118.jpg[/img][/center] [center][img]http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20020307/capt.1015517782.afghanistan_agb104.jpg[/img][/center]
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