Afghanistan: August 20, 2002


 Pakistan and the US are arguing over where the remaining al Qaeda and Taliban members are. The US insists that hundreds of them are still hiding in remote Pakistani villages. Pakistan insists most of these gunmen are in Afghanistan. Others claim that most of these men escaped to other countries. No one knows, and the people in question, if they exist, are keeping their heads down.

The Afghan government and various warlords still hold 2,000-4,000 al Qaeda and Taliban militants. The US has screened many of these and taken those they consider hard core. But many of those still in custody are still pretty dangerous. For example, on August 7, 13 prisoners (12 Pakistanis and one Kyrgystani) broke out of a Kabul prison while they were awaiting release. These men obtained weapons and were eventually cornered and killed by police. They broke out when they had the opportunity, despite their imminent release release, because of their paranoia and fanaticism. 

US commanders believe that American troops will be in Afghanistan for many years to come in order to find remaining al Qaeda operatives. 

Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division are replacing soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (based at Bagram airbase).




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