Posted: 5/17/2002 6:06:21 PM EDT
British troops of Zulu Company 45 command depart for operation Condor from Bagram air base Friday
BAGRAM, Afghanistan, May 17 — Coalition forces launched a new operation in Afghanistan Friday to battle what commanders called a “substantial enemy force” of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the east. As the campaign got under way, an Arab newspaper published comments purportedly from former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, saying that Osama bin Laden was alive and warning that the United States would face “fire, hell and total defeat” in Afghanistan.
ABOUT 1,000 troops, most of them British and backed by U.S. airplane gunships and helicopters, were deployed Friday in mountainous eastern Afghanistan, commanders said. U.S. military officials told NBC News that as many as “several hundred” al-Qaida fighters were believed to be in the region.
Brig. Roger Lane said the troops were sent Friday to eastern Paktia province after an Australian special forces patrol came under fire on Thursday.
“I can confirm that the coalition has made contact with the enemy and that some have been killed,” Lane said. “A number of attacks by air have been conducted.”
Lane said Australian and American forces were involved in the British-led mission, dubbed Operation Condor.
Lane said several opposition fighters had been killed, but there had been no coalition casualties.
“The situation is fluid, I imagine the operation will continue for days,” he said.
Lane said Operation Condor was launched after an Australian patrol was fired on on Thursday. He said coalition troops were “equipped with the full range of combat power by air and by road.”
Lane said suspected al-Qaida or Taliban fighters had been behind the attack on the Australian patrol. He declined to say how many enemy fighters there were, but said “it is clear that it is a substantial enemy force” and coalition forces, backed by artillery, had identified a number of enemy positions to target.
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Bryan Hilferty said the operation was taking place north of the eastern city of Khost.
He said American forces had not sent ground forces, but were backing the mission with U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship airplanes and Chinook and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
“This is an area historically used by the Taliban,” Lane said.
MULLAH OMAR QUOTED
In another development Friday, fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was quoted by an Arab newspaper as saying Osama bin Laden is alive and the future of the United States in Afghanistan is “fire, hell and total defeat.”
“We don’t consider the battle has ended in Afghanistan. ... The battle has begun and its fires are picking up. These fires will reach the White House, because it is the center of injustice and tyranny,” Omar was quoted as saying by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat.
“As for the United States’ future in Afghanistan, it will be fire and hell and total defeat, God willing, as it was for their predecessors — the Soviets and, before them, the British,” Omar reportedly said.
“The sheik (bin Laden) is, thank God, still alive and this hurts Bush, who promised to his people to kill Osama,” Omar reportedly said.
the rest @ [url]http://www.msnbc.com/news/627086.asp[/url]
Watch what is going in in INDIA as well. They actually have the balls to say the truth, That ISLAM is the problem.
Hey if ISLAM is a peaceful religion then why are so many terrorists Islamic? PAKISTAN is definitely the seedbed for Afghanistan, all the scum sure didn't run to IRAN did they?
India might actually do something about it.
We need all the help we can get.
Sign up for the ARFCOM weekly newsletter and be entered to win a free ARFCOM membership. One new winner* is announced every week!
You will receive an email every Friday morning featuring the latest chatter from the hottest topics, breaking news surrounding legislation, as well as exclusive deals only available to ARFCOM email subscribers.