New phase of war in Afghanistan
March 4, 2002 Posted: 10:31 p.m. EST (0331 GMT)
Gen. Tommy Franks said some 2,000 U.S.-led coalition troops are tracking down and killing hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in a 60-square-mile, mountainous area near the border of Pakistan as part of Operation Anaconda, named for a snake that crushes its prey in its coils.
"We are entering a phase where we will physically go to places on the ground inside Afghanistan to clear out pockets of resistance as we are able to find them. And, yes, it is more dangerous," said the four-star general who as head of the Central Command based in Tampa, Florida, directs military operations in Afghanistan. (Full story)
Eight U.S. soldiers have been killed in action since the operation began last week. That is the highest number of American combat deaths since the war on terror began in Afghanistan in October.
One U.S. Special Forces soldier died during fighting Saturday. The other casualties came Monday when two helicopters used to reposition forces in the combat zone came under fire while landing.
One soldier died when he apparently fell from a helicopter as it was taking off to leave the area, military officials said. The other casualties came during a firefight that ensued when troops got out of a helicopter after it made a hard landing, Franks said.
Both the Pentagon and President Bush warned that more casualties were expected as U.S. forces tracks down "those who want to harm innocent Americans."
Bush also said, "There is no cave deep enough for Osama bin Laden." (Full story)
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