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US Searches al-Qaida Sites in Afhanistan for Bio-Chem Weapons - 2001-11-21

U.S. officials have begun scouring suspected chemical and biological weapons sites in Afghanistan used by the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Two of the four journalists murdered this week in Afghanistan filed reports shortly before their deaths detailing the discovery of what appeared to be deadly Sarin gas.

The finds were made at an al-Qaida terrorist base outside of the city of Jalalabad.

U.S. officials are skeptical that the vials found by the reporters actually contained Sarin.

But Marine General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that site is not among those visited so far by U.S. personnel.

General Pace says however that some sites have already been visited and samples taken for detailed analysis. "We have a series of facilities that are on our list of places to go and visit and check," he said. "We have taken samples at some of those facilities and those samples are in the process of being analyzed right now. We do not have data back on that."

It is not clear which sites have been visited and what suspicious materials have been removed for study.

But U.S. officials have said in the past that al-Qaida sought to obtain nuclear, chemical and biological materials for use as terrorist weapons.