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U.S. Pounds Taliban Front-Line Positions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2001 – U.S. air forces continued to hammer front-line Taliban positions, Joint Staff spokesman Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem told Pentagon reporters Oct. 26.

He said 80 aircraft struck in 10 target areas. These were mostly in the north in support of opposition groups around Kabul, but also around Kandahar to the south.

U.S. Central Command forces under the command of Army Gen. Tommy Franks hit terrorist and Taliban command and control elements, cave and camp complexes, airfield and air defense assets, storage and supply depots, Taliban military forces in garrison and deployed and emerging targets in engagement zones.

He said 70 carrier aircraft, four to six land-based tactical jets and four to six long-range bombers made up the strike force. U.S. forces also launched a small number of Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Afghanistan.

Stufflebeem said that though the United States is supporting the Northern Alliance efforts against the Taliban, it would be wrong to say the United States has "meshed" its plan with that of the Northern Alliance.

"We're sticking with our game plan, our strategy," he said. "Where it crosses with what the Northern Alliance wants, that's a good thing. But we're not going to adapt our game plan to theirs nor would we expect them to ours."

He said he understands that Northern Alliance members may feel frustrated about the plans not meshing, but U.S. forces are supporting them. "But we're very focused on what we're after and how we're going to do that, and we'll do it on our timeline," he said.

Other operations in Afghanistan included dropping leaflets in the northern region and around Kandahar, and several Commando Solo broadcast missions, Stufflebeem said.

U.S. forces continued the humanitarian airlift mission with two C-17s dropping about 34,000 humanitarian daily rations in the north. The total number of these rations airlifted to Afghanistan now tops 850,000.

British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram announced in the House of Commons that Britain will deploy 200 Royal Marine commandos in support of the campaign against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.

Ingram said other Marines will remain on a high state of readiness to join the effort.

 

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