Rumsfeld Provides Update on Tora Bora Fighting
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
TBLISI, Georgia, Dec. 16, 2001 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that fighting has died down in the Tora Bora region.
Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, that the Eastern Alliance and accompanying U.S. troops confirm that the major tunnel and cave complexes have been taken or destroyed.
Rumsfeld said the alliance killed about 200 Al Qaeda terrorists and captured 11, including a senior Al Qaeda leader. The bombing campaign in the area near Jalalabad has also slowed, he said.
Rumsfeld said some Al Qaeda fighters - estimates range as high as 2,000 - are attempting to escape from the area. The region is mountainous, and opposition troops working with U.S. and British special operations forces are working to cut off their escape paths.
Tora Bora is near the border with Pakistan. News reports say that thousands of Pakistani soldiers are at the border looking for Al Qaeda fighters.