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Bombing Continues on Ramadan's First Day

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2001 – The U.S. air campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda continues on this first day of Ramadan, DoD officials said.

"We are bombing today," Pentagon spokesman Dick McGraw said. "There is no change in operations."

On Nov. 15, U.S. air forces flew 138 sorties over Afghanistan. The focus was in support of ground operations near Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif in the north and Herat in the west. U.S. forces also went after caves and tunnels from "Kabul to Khyber," McGraw said.

He said there were nine leaflet drops and two Commando Solo missions. In addition, three C-17s dropped 52,000 Humanitarian Daily Ration packs in Afghanistan.

Some 40 U.S. special operations troops and about 100 British soldiers are on the ground at Baghram Air Base, 35 miles northeast of Kabul, McGraw said. They arrived in C-130 transports yesterday. Their primary mission is to prepare the base for humanitarian relief operations. U.S. forces may use the airport for combat strikes if needed, he noted.

The French Defense Ministry announced the arrival of 58 soldiers in Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan. Turkish officials also said their forces are ready for Afghan action.

In the south, the situation around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar remains fluid. "There's a lot of movement back and forth, a lot of activity, "McGraw said.

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