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Pentagon Reports More Taleban, al-Qaida Losses - 2002-03-06


The U-S military says hundreds of Taleban and al-Qaida fighters have been killed as U-S-led coalition forces press their offensive in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

The commander of the operation (Army Major General Frank Hagenbeck) said the U-S-led forces Tuesday killed many enemy fighters who were caught in the open on their way to the battle front. Pentagon officials say that since Friday at least 200 al-Qaida and Taleban fighters have been killed.

Officials also say continued airstrikes are weakening enemy resistance, but opposition remains stiff. Allied forces are moving up snow-covered mountains in Afghanistan's Paktia province, trying to reach areas where hundreds of al-Qaida and Taleban fighters are believed to be hiding out.

Meanwhile, the bodies of eight U-S soldiers killed in the fighting arrived in the United States early today (Wednesday).

President Bush says the U-S soldiers died for a just and noble cause -- the defense of freedom.

Australian, Canadian, Danish, French, German, and Norwegian soldiers are backing U-S and Afghan troops as they battle the Taleban and al-Qaidai fighters in what the military calls Operation Anaconda.

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