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American Forces Pull Hidden MiG fighters out of Iraqi Desert

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2003 – American forces have found Russian fighter jets buried in the Iraqi desert, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an Aug. 5 press briefing.

"We'd heard a great many things had been buried, but we had not known where they were, and we'd been operating in that immediate vicinity for weeks and weeks and weeks 12, 13 weeks, and didn't know they were (there)," Rumsfeld said.

The secretary said he wasn't sure how many such aircraft had been found, but noted, "It wasn't one or two."

He said it's a "classic example" of the challenges the Iraqi Survey Group is facing in finding weapons of mass destruction in the country.

"Something as big as an airplane that's within a stone's throw of where you're functioning, and you don't know it's there because you don't run around digging into everything on a discovery process," Rumsfeld explained. "So until you find somebody who tells you where to look, or until nature clears some sand away and exposes something over time, we're simply not going to know.

"But, as we all know," he added, "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA U.S. military search team uncovers a Cold War-era MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor buried beneath the sands in Iraq. Several MiG-25 and Su-25 ground attack jets have been found buried at al-Taqqadum airfield west of Baghdad. Photo by Master Sgt. T. Collins, USAF  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA U.S. military search team prepares to move a Cold War-era MiG- 25 Foxbat interceptor that was found buried beneath the sands in Iraq. Several MiG-25 and Su-25 ground attack jets have been found buried at al-Taqqadum air field west of Baghdad. Photo by Master Sgt. T. Collins, USAF  
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