Weapons Cache Including 5 Tanks Confiscated in Afghanistan
By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2002 U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan confiscated five Soviet-made tanks in what might be the largest cache of weapons found to date in the country.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told reporters in the Pentagon today that U.S. troops found large caches of weapons "over the weekend" in Orgun, near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border south of Gardez, and in Herat, in the western part of the country.
He said the haul included more than 800,000 rounds of .50- caliber ammunition, 1 million machine gun rounds, 600 rocket-propelled grenades, 700 mortars and five T-54 tanks.
The troops also found 15 containers with about 1,500 mortar rounds buried in the side of a hill.
"We have found tanks in the past. We have found large ammunition caches in the past. Whether or not this is the largest (weapons find) I don't know," Pace said.
Depending on their condition, the weapons and ammunition could be destroyed in place or given to the newly formed Afghan national army, Pace explained.
He mentioned that the Afghan national army's first 250 soldiers began training today. The 10-week training program will emphasize basic soldier skills in the beginning and will progress from there, Pace said.
Another 160 Afghan soldiers are scheduled to start training soon, he said.