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U.S. Destroys Afghan Arms Cache, Sets up Gitmo Hospital

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2002 – U.S. commanders in Afghanistan used an AC-130 gunship strike to destroy a "very large cache" of arms and ammunition discovered Jan. 24 at the site of a raid.

U.S. soldiers found the cache at Hazar Qadam, the site of a U.S. raid on two Taliban leadership compounds. Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke said the raid netted 27 Taliban detainees. She said officials in Afghanistan are trying to sort out the identities of those captured and their jobs.

She said the Special Forces soldier wounded in the ankle in the action is being treated at the Army medical center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Overall, more than 4,000 American troops are in Afghanistan, Clarke said. U.S. and coalition pilots flew 143 sorties over Afghanistan on Jan. 24. Other than at Hazar Qadam, no other ordnance was dropped. Pilots remain on call if needed, DoD officials said.

There are 302 Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees under U.S. control in Afghanistan. The number in Cuba remains 158.

A Navy supply ship docked at the base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and delivered supplies and equipment to Joint Task Force-160. The 1,300 task force members are responsible for guarding the detainees.

The ship, the SS Maj. Stephen W. Pless, delivered a Navy fleet hospital to the base. The hospital will provide medical care to the task force members and the detainees. The Pless is a maritime pre-positioning ship normally assigned in the Mediterranean Sea.

The ship delivered all components of the hospital including buses, vans, ambulances and generators. Once set up, the hospital is a 500-bed facility that can handle almost all medical emergencies. It has a surgical suite, casualty receiving area, intensive care unit, lab and pharmacy.

Navy stevedores and Marines unloaded the ship in a day.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Briefing - Rear Adm. Stufflebeem, Jan. 25, 2002

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