Afghan tribal forces say they are making advances in the Tora Bora region where U-S officials believe Osama bin Laden may be trapped with his al-Qaida fighters.
Fighting in the area is reported to be intense, with tribal and al-Qaida forces trading machine-gun fire amid continuing U-S airstrikes.
U-S and British special forces troops are reportedly on the ground assisting the effort. The Associated Press says two Americans were lightly wounded today (Friday) attacking an al-Qaida machine-gun nest.
A senior U-S defense official says Osama bin Laden is believed to be somewhere in two parallel valleys (Wazir and Agam) that straddle the Afghan-Pakistan border. The official, who asked not to be identified, says al-Qaida fighters are blocked by Afghan tribal forces on one side, and by Pakistani troops on the other.
Anti-Taleban commander Hazrat Ali says his forces have about 200 al-Qaida men surrounded in a cave where Mr. bin Laden may be hiding.
President Bush says he doesn't care whether Osama bin Laden is taken dead or alive, but he remains confident anti-terrorist forces will get the al-Qaida leader. However, the Afghan Islamic Press quotes what it calls informed sources as saying Mr. bin Laden recently left Tora Bora for an unknown location.
In southern Afghanistan, meanwhile, U-S Marines swept into Kandahar's airport by ground and in helicopters early today, and are working to clear the area of land mines and other explosives. The forces reported no resistance during the operation.
Officers say humanitarian and military flights could be operating in a day or two, once debris is cleared.