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Central Command Asks to Designate Afghanistan Combat Zone

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2001 – U.S. Central Command officials have asked that Afghanistan, its airspace and the seas near it be declared a combat zone, DoD officials said Oct. 9.

Service members participating in the attacks on the Al Qaeda terror network and Taliban military targets would receive $150 per month imminent danger pay. They would be excused from federal taxes any month they were in the combat zone.

The Central Command request has come to Washington. It will go through the Joint Staff to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for approval and then to President Bush. The president would name the area a combat zone via executive order. If approved, the tax exclusion would apply from the date the president determined hostilities commenced.

Afghanistan is already an imminent danger area, so U.S. service members already qualify for $150 per month imminent danger pay. The sea off Pakistan, however, is not yet so labeled.

Officials expect quick action on the request.

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