Afghanistan: January 24, 2002


Foreign troops continue to arrive in Kabul for ISAF (International Assistance Security Force), a peacekeeping force that will reach 4500 men by the end of February. But UN officials now say that ISAF may need a force of 30,000 troops to be effective. There is a lot of support for this among Afghans, who are increasingly fearful that the many warlord groups will trigger another civil war. This fear is stoked by government and UN proclamations that the billions of dollars in relief money will be carefully monitored, cutting warlords off from opportunities to steal the money. Some warlords are already trying to cash in by stealing food shipments for their troops and tribes. 

Some hundred kilometers north of Kandahar, U.S. troops fought their largest ground battle of the 15 week Afghanistan war. A dozen Taliban and al Qaeda fighters were killed and 27 captured. One U.S. soldier was wounded. Hundreds of tons of weapons and munitions were destroyed and documents and other evidence seized. About a hundred American ground troops were involved, as well as U.S. bombers and a AC-130 gunship.

Ariana, Afghanistan's national airline, made it's first international flight, with a Boeing 727 carrying 20 passengers to India and returning with ten tons of relief supplies. The airlines other aircraft, an AN-24, is flying domestic flights. 

The American carrier Carl Vinson returned to its home port in Washington state. The ship, and its escorts, were at sea for six months. The carriers 85 aircraft flew 4,200 sorties and dropped over a thousand tons of bombs in 70 days of operations against Afghanistan targets. 

The director of the U.S. FBI visited Afghanistan and said that information collected in Afghanistan had prevented additional al Qaeda attacks against America.


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