U-S military officials say U-S-led Operation Anaconda in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan is right on schedule, despite worsening weather and fierce resistance from al-Qaida and Taleban fighters.
Friday, snowstorms and high winds grounded many scheduled U-S aerial attacks against al-Qaida positions. U-S officials also noted enemy fire was subsiding. They say several hundred al-Qaida and Taleban soldiers have already been killed.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he believes several hundred enemy fighters remaining in the mountains will -- in his words -- fight until the end. Fighting has been ongoing in the remote mountains of Paktia province near Gardez city since last Friday.
Other U-S officials warn there are likely to be pockets of Taleban and al-Qaida fighters in other parts of Afghanistan. Mr. Rumsfeld says U-S troops will remain in the country until the Afghan government can provide reasonable security throughout its territory.
Afghanistan has sent one-thousand more soldiers to the Gardez area to help in the U-S-led effort, adding to one-thousand who are already fighting. At least seven Afghan soldiers and eight U-S soldiers have been reported killed in the fighting.
The extra manpower apparently is aimed at smashing fiercer-than-expected resistance. Several hundred soldiers from European countries, Canada, and Australia are also taking part.