Afghanistan: January 25, 2002

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Turkey is sending a 350-man unit to Afghanistan; this is a command & control element that will take over command of the International Security Assistance Force in March. At that time, Turkey will send a 650-man infantry battalion.--Stephen V Cole

The U.S. now says it will probably keep combat units in the country through the Summer. It was also made clear that American troops will not be used for "nation building" as they are in the Balkans. This mission will be performed by the British led peacekeeping force. U.S. troops are having more success finding Taliban and al Qaeda bases, which often include stockpiles of weapons and groups of armed Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. American intelligence gathering efforts have been increasingly successful. The camps found and raided all contain some documents and other evidence of what al Qaeda was up to. American troops also taken nearly 500 al Qaeda and Taliban members into custody and is in the process of shipping them to Cuba. The prison camp there is being expanded to hold up to a thousand prisoners. 

The Afghan government still believes Osama bin Laden is alive and in Pakistan. U.S. intelligence has picked up fewer radio transmissions and information on the ground indicating that bin Laden is around. Searching for bin Laden in Pakistan is more difficult. The Pushtun tribes there are wealthier and better organized, and less hostile to outsiders like al Qaeda. The Pakistani tribes never had to put up with the Taliban, and are still more likely to be pro-Taliban (or at least less anti-Taliban.) The threat of war with India has made the Pakistani government less willing to press the Pushtun tribes in northern Pakistan over the bin Laden search. 


 

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