Remanded Detainees not 'High Value,' DoD Officials Say
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2002 The 27 Afghans captured by U.S. forces in a Jan. 24 raid and since returned to Afghanistan's interim government were 'little fish,' DoD officials said today.
"Clearly they were not people that we thought we wanted to have," DoD spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said to Pentagon reporters. The detainees were remanded Feb. 6. In respect to Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees captured in the war against terrorism, she said the United States wants control over senior-level, "high-value people."
"We're not collecting every former Taliban, especially mid- level or lower-level people. We're interested in the leadership," said Rear Adm. John D. Stufflebeem, Joint Staff deputy director of operations for current readiness and capabilities.
He said he didn't have the identities of the 27 detainees, but noted they probably didn't announce their membership in the Taliban. They probably provided U.S. authorities with "stories we can't verify," he remarked.
In another matter, the alleged Feb. 4 CIA missile assault on a group of probable terrorists in eastern Afghanistan, Stufflebeem noted DoD played no part. He noted the CIA and DoD are both conducting offensive operations in Afghanistan, but said the operations may not always "be meshed or completely integrated."
During the press conference, Clarke and Stufflebeem both noted that the admiral is slated to take command of the USS Harry S. Truman carrier battle group this summer.