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US Special Forces Stage Raid in Southern Afghanistan


The Pentagon says U.S. special forces have attacked two separate targets in southern Afghanistan, including a compound near Kandahar used as a residence by Taleban leader Mullah Mohamed Omar.

General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. armed forces, calls the overnight mission successful. He says an unspecified number of U.S. special forces, including Army Rangers, attacked two separate Taleban and terrorist command and control targets in southern Afghanistan - one an unidentified airfield, the other a residence near Kandahar used by Taleban leader Mullah Omar.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, General Myers acknowledged the U.S. troops did not expect to find any significant Taleban or al-Qaida terrorist leaders at either location. But he said the troops gathered intelligence and destroyed arms and ammunition. He would not disclose whether any captives were taken.

The general said the American troops encountered what he characterized as light resistance at the two objectives. He said there were casualties on the Taleban side, but offered no estimate of how many.

He said two U.S. soldiers were injured in a parachute drop on one of the objectives. In addition, two U.S. military personnel were killed and three others injured in a helicopter accident in Pakistan that was part of a support operation for the unprecedented raid. General Myers said Taleban claims they shot down the helicopter are false.

General Myers said a variety of aircraft were used in the separate overnight raids, but he would not say where the Special Forces and Rangers launched their missions from or how long they were on the ground. He said only that the troops received what he termed good cooperation in the region and that they are now refitting and repositioning for future raids.

During the extraordinary briefing, General Myers showed battlefield videotape of some of the combat forces parachuting into southern Afghanistan on the airfield objective. There was also video of the soldiers going through rooms and later destroying arms.

General Myers declines to discuss any other ground operations that may be under way, saying some operations will remain invisible.

But he says about 100 U.S. aircraft carried out bombing missions over Afghanistan on Friday. In addition, U.S. cargo planes dropped thousands more food ration packets with the latest delivered over territory held by the opposition Northern Alliance.

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