|Zawar Kili Remains Concern, 414 Detainees Under US. Control|
Zawar Kili Remains Concern, 414 Detainees Under US. Control
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) January 14, 2002 - Coalition aircraft launched strikes against the Al Qaeda's Zawar Kili complex in Afghanistan over the weekend, Pentagon officials said.
B-1 and B-52 bombers and F/A-18 fighter-bombers hit the complex. They dropped precision munitions and were guided to the targets by people on the ground.
The complex is in Paktia province in Eastern Afghanistan and is "extremely large," said Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke. She said she has heard estimates that the Al Qaeda facility is 3 miles wide by 3 miles long. There are more than 60 buildings in the complex and at least 40 caves, officials said.
The Zawar Kili strikes were on newly found targets as well as targets hit previously. Clarke said the strikes do varying amounts of damage on the caves. Sometimes the caves collapse completely. "The goal is to disable them as completely as possible."
The strikes were just part of the 113 sorties flown over Afghanistan Jan. 13. Other sorties included Commando Solo broadcast missions and leaflet drops.
Remains of six of the seven Marines killed in the KC-130/R crash in Pakistan Jan. 9 arrived at the Armed Forces Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 13. Officials in Afghanistan are searching for the remains of the seventh victim and continuing the investigation into the cause of the crash.
Clarke said there are 414 Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees under U.S. control in Afghanistan. There are 361 detainees being held in Kandahar, one aboard the USS Bataan, and 52 at Bagram air base near Kabul. Twenty detainees are being held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Clarke said the detainees are "extraordinarily dangerous people, so the people at Guantanamo are taking extraordinary precautions."
Details of what the United States will do with the detainees are still being worked out, Clark said. She said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is working within the Pentagon and with other agencies to determine a final outcome.
DoD officials stress the detainees are being treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.