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Pentagon Videotape Documents Fighting in Afghanistan - 2002-03-05

U.S. defense officials have provided a rare glimpse into the heavy fighting now going on in eastern Afghanistan, releasing combat camera video taken during a ground patrol.

U.S. forces inserted by helicopter into the remote mountainous terrain of eastern Afghanistan can never be sure if trouble lies over the next ridge.

A videotape was shot at the beginning of Operation Anaconda by military combat cameramen. In the ensuing scenes, the ground unit radios that it is under fire. No casualties are visible. But an Apache attack helicopter then comes into view, presumably to locate and eliminate any threat as the American soldiers approach a walled compound.

It is clearly a dangerous and tension-filled patrol, one of many taking place in eastern Afghanistan where some 2,000 Afghan, American and other coalition troops are assaulting several hundred well-entrenched al-Qaida fighters scattered over a wide area.

The Pentagon says the al-Qaida and foreign Taleban forces are taking heavy casualties in what senior U.S. military officials say is a fight-to-the-death.

But U.S. forces have also sustained casualties, including seven killed in two separate incidents in which troop-carrying helicopters came under fire.