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U.S. Investigators Leave Missile Strike Site

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2002 – WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2002 –- U.S. investigators searching a missile strike site in Afghanistan discovered some documents, ammunition, weapons and bits of human remains, DoD spokesperson Victoria Clarke said today.

Members of the 50-person team "are now leaving, if they haven't left already," Clarke told Pentagon reporters this morning.

News reports allege that a CIA-operated unmanned aircraft fired a missile Feb. 4 at a suspected Al Qaeda complex near Zawar Kili in eastern Afghanistan.

"It is difficult for me to talk about what led into that strike," Clarke said, noting, "That wasn't the U.S. military."

She said searchers identified the site from the discovery of a fin from the missile. The team had to remove about three to four feet of snow to clear a 200-yard radius of ground, she said.

"They have recovered a variety of things -- some documents, some ammunition and weapons, some small pieces of bone and human flesh," she said. Materials found at the site will be sent to the United States for further analysis, Clarke said.

The searchers also looked into three caves at nearby villages, but found nothing of note, she said.

In other news, Clarke noted that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army Gen. Tommy Franks, U.S. Central Command's commander in chief, are requesting more information as part of a U.S. investigation into a Jan. 24 raid in which 27 Afghans are alleged to have been mistakenly detained as Al Qaeda or Taliban members.

The Afghans were released Feb. 6. Some have alleged that U.S. forces beat them. The investigation into these allegations is ongoing, Clarke noted.

"We have nothing to indicate anything like (beatings) happened," she said.

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