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U.S. Planes Fly, But No Bombs Dropped

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

Washington, Dec. 19, 2001 – U.S. combat aircraft flew 164 sorties over Afghanistan Dec. 18 but dropped no ordnance.

"No weapons were expended, which means it's getting harder to find targets," DoD spokesman Richard McGraw told Pentagon reporters here this morning.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, briefed on Dec. 18 that U.S. fighters and bombers maintain a presence in the skies above Afghanistan in case ground forces call in strikes. Those troops requested no strikes that day.

Fifteen prisoners were transported to a U.S.-built detention facility at the Kandahar airport, where U.S. Marines guard them. U.S. officials have said they hope to glean useful intelligence information from these prisoners.

Five prisoners are still being held aboard amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu off the coast of Pakistan. One is John Walker, the American found among Taliban fighters after a bloody prison uprising near Mazar-e Sharif earlier this month. U.S. officials haven't decided if he'll be charged with any crimes.

Another prisoner is an Australian. The identities of the other three aboard the Peleliu haven't been released. McGraw quoted Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz from Dec. 18, "Even if we knew the names, we wouldn't tell you."

"We don't want those that we don't have to know who we do have," McGraw explained.

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