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U-S Forces Gather Evidence at Site of Missile Attack in - 2002-02-08


U-S troops are in eastern Afghanistan investigating the site of a U-S missile attack Monday that may have killed several members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Pentagon officials say helicopters, after delays due to bad weather, Firday carried more than 50 troops to the Zawar Kili area, near the Tora Bora cave complex where U-S and Afghan forces battled al-Qaida fighters in November. The chairman of the U-S Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, tells journalists that the team arrived there at night, and so has not yet been able to gather any information.

Pentagon officials say the missile fired from an unmanned drone appeared to hit a group of men, one of whom they say was taller than the others and being treated with great deference.

Media reports have speculated the man was Osama bin Laden, who is nearly two meters (six feet four inches) tall. U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the Pentagon has no idea if the man was Mr. bin Laden or not.

Mr. Myers did not confirm the reports about Mr. bin Laden. But he said the target was chosen carefully and that the strike may have killed several people.

The Zawar Kili area is the site of what was a major al-Qaida training and weapons storage facility.

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