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US Military: Enemy Command Structure Destroyed in Afghan Region - 2002-03-17


The U-S military says coalition troops have destroyed the al-Qaida and Taleban command and control structure in a key area of eastern Afghanistan.

A U-S military spokesman (Major Bryan Hilferty) told reporters today (Sunday) at Bagram Air Base that U-S forces and their allies are still in the Shah-e-kot Valley area looking for hold-out fighters. The region is located about 150 kilometers south of the Afghan apital, Kabul, near the border with Pakistan.

The spokesman called the operation that began early this month a "great success," with many enemy forces killed, and a considerable amount of weapons and ammunition destroyed. He also said allied troops found sensitive information in various languages left behind by Taleban and al-Qaida fighters who were killed or had fled the area.

U-S military officials say there has been little combat in recent days in the mountain ridges and caves and tunnels where enemy fighters had been entrenched.

Officials say they believe there were up to one-thousand members of al-Qaida and the Taleban in the area when the offensive began, but do not know how many were killed, and how many escaped, possibly to regroup elsewhere.

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