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U-S Military Says Afghan Fighting Not Winding Down - 2002-03-11


U-S military commanders say the heaviest fighting in eastern Afghanistan is over, but deny Operation Anaconda is winding down.

General Tommy Franks, the U-S commander of the war in Afghanistan, told A-B-C television Sunday the battle will continue until all Taleban and al-Qaida fighters in the area are killed or captured.

A spokesman for the U-S Army's 10th Mountain Division, Major Bryan Hilferty, says U-S and Afghan soldiers will keep searching caves and bunkers for the remnants of the enemy.

U-S military officials also say the 400 U-S troops who left the area early Sunday will likely be rearmed and returned to the fighting in the Shah-e-Kot mountains of Pakita province.

They say at least 500 enemy fighters have been killed as the operation enters its 10th day and coalition forces have gained control of large areas of the battlefield.

The officials say they believe at least 200 al-Qaida and Taleban fighters are still hiding in the eastern mountains.

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