RealNews

Afghanistan Arrests

Thousands of U.S. and Afghan soldiers combed mountain caves and searched houses in southern Afghanistan today on the second day of a major military operation against Taliban rebels, Afghan officials said. “Operation Valiant Strike” was launched in the Samigar mountains of southeastern Afghanistan on Thursday morning, less than an hour before the first U.S. airstrikes on Iraq. Afghan officials and military commanders said the Americans had arrested 12 people, including members of Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime and renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami movement. But U.S. military spokesman Colonel Roger King denied having made contact with “enemy forces,” who he described as supporters of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda movement. He said search operations were still getting under way over “a pretty large area.” “There are villages in the low ground, there are caves in the high ground, and [U.S. forces] will be doing a systematic covering of the area of operations,” King told reporters at the U.S. military’s headquarters at Bagram air base, north of Kabul. The latest operation is centered on a series of villages and cave complexes about 60 miles east of Kandahar, close to the Pakistani border, including the districts of Maruf, Arghistan and Shin Naray. Full Story

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