Afghanistan: January 2, 2002


U.S. marines completed a search of a bombed out Taliban compound outside Kandahar. Afghan forces are closing in on a Taliban forces (of up to 1,500 men) northwest of Kandahar. This force is thought to be guarding Taliban leader Oamr and, possibly, Osama bin Laden as well.

A search on the ground indicated that several Taliban leaders were killed by a U.S. December 27th bombing. The U.S. is using intelligence reports to pinpoint Taliban leaders and ammunition dumps in remote areas, and then bombing them. This sometimes results in civilian casualties, as the Taliban try to protect themselves by staying in residential areas. The Taliban also take over homes to store weapons and ammunition. 

A thousand troops from the U.S. Army 101st Airmobile division arrived to take over the marine base at the Kandahar airport. The marines and soldiers will be used to conduct searches for Taliban leaders and al Qaeda members. While locally hired Afghan fighters are useful, they require a lot of special forces troops to supervise them and are less disciplined and prone to looting when they should be doing something else. The looting also sometimes leads to the loss of valuable intelligence information.

The first French peacekeeping troops arrived in Kabul. The peacekeeping force will now consist of 4,500 troops.

Afghan refugees are returning from Pakistan and Iran. Some 60,000 have returned so far. 


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