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U.S. Following Up on Predator Strike; More Detainees Headed for GITMO

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2002 – Bad weather has prevented U.S. military officials from reaching a site near Zawar Kili, Afghanistan, where a Feb. 4 strike by a CIA Predator unmanned aerial vehicle reportedly killed several Al Qaeda leaders, Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke told reporters here today.

U.S. military officials don't know who might have been killed since they haven't yet visited the attack site, she stressed. Along with bad weather, she said, the site is in a difficult geographical area. Even though days have passed since the air strike, she said, there is always a great deal of interest in knowing the results.

There were 107 sorties in Afghanistan yesterday, she said, but no strikes were reported.

In other developments, Clarke said another group of detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from Afghanistan yesterday. That brings the total number in U.S. control at the naval base to 186. A congressional delegation is visiting the Camp X-Ray detention center there today, she noted.

"Over the coming days and weeks, there will continue to be a flow of detainees into Guantanamo," she said.

Another 271 detainees are under U.S. control in Afghanistan, she said. No estimate is available of how many detainees are yet to be turned over to the United States by Afghan authorities, she added.

No decisions have yet been made regarding military tribunals, she said, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is deeply engaged on the issue.

"On important issues, the secretary wants to look at it with a 360-degree perspective," she said. "He wants to hear the inputs and thoughts and discussions from a lot of different people. He wants to be completely immersed in the topic before he feels comfortable enough to make his recommendation to the president."

Whether the issue is the designation of the detainees or military tribunals, she said, these are "completely different, unusual, unconventional times and circumstances. So you've got to look at these institutions and look at these tools and say how do they work, how do they apply in these circumstances?"

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