Afghanistan: January 15, 2002


American troops sweeping through al Qaeda camps are finding considerable quantities of weapons, including tanks, artillery and surface to air missiles. Tons of ammunition and thousands of assault rifles have also been found. Most of these weapons are being destroyed after the area is searched for documents. Many documents and other evidence of terrorist activity has been found so far. Over 40 of these camps have been found so far. It was thought that biological weapons labs were found in some camps, but this turned out to be facilities for processing poppies into drugs.

Thirteen special forces troopers and two air force ground controllers received Purple Hearts for wounds received in Afghanistan (mostly in the battles around Mazar-I-Sharif and Kandahar.) Five men also received Bronze Stars for valor on the battlefield. 

Food supplies are getting through for internal refugees and areas hit hard by the drought. The only areas where there are serious transportation problems are those few villages in the high central mountains and areas where the banditry is so bad the truck drivers will not proceed. The "brutal Afghan winter" is something of a media myth. The Winter is only really bad in the mountains, and the only people up there are in a few villages. The mountains in Winter also provide hiding places for outlaws (these days, al Qaeda and Taliban.) The Afghan Winter got a reputation during the 1980s because the Russians sometimes went up country in the Winter to go after Afghan guerillas who were not as mobile in the snow and cold. 

The CIA officially denied reports that it had concluded that bin Laden had been able to leave Afghanistan. President Bush says the search for bin Laden will go on until he is found. 

For the first time in over a week, there was no bombing of al Qaeda camps. U.S. reconnaissance efforts have discovered several al Qaeda base areas that were previously unknown. These will be searched by U.S. troops. 


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