Afghanistan: March 10, 2002

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Mullah Haji Abdul Rahim, a senior Taliban commander surrendered to Afghan government forces of General Haidar on 10 March, a top defense official said. Rahim had up to 1,000 troops under his command and was a brother of Mowlavi Haqani, former chief commander of Paktia province when the Taliban ruled. How many of Rahim's troops surrendered themselves is unknown. - Adam Geibel 

Near dusk on 7 March, a caravan of Afghan tanks and armored personnel carriers rumbled down the main road south of Kabul toward Paktia Province and the high-elevation combat. To western journalists, the 10 T-55s and BMP-1s of General Muhammad Nasim's command looked like a moving museum. These 1,000 Afghan reinforcements, under Northern Commander Gul Haider, were largely Tajik troops who had fought under their late commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, against the Taliban. 

However, mechanical attrition took it's toll on the aging armor as it made the 60 mile drive from Kabul. As the Afghan armor column reached the battle zone on the 9th, but driving winds and snow forced al-Qaida holdouts to retreat into their caves. The Tajiks were tasked with helping drive hidden Taliban snipers and fighters from the Shah-I-Khot valley villages of Serkhankeil, Bobelkiel and Marzak. 

Since the initial grouping of 1,000 Afghan government troops committed to Operation Anaconda were ethnic Pashtuns, cooperation between the two groups may be problematic. Apparently, the local commanders complaints had prevented the Afghan tanks from going any further than Gardez by 10 March. - Adam Geibel

 

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