Afghanistan: January 27, 2003

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 While searching a compound near the Pakistan border, US and Afghan troops were fired on. The one attacker was killed, and two captured. One of the men captured men said there were 80 anti-government troops hiding in nearby caves in the Spin Boldack area. AH-64 attack helicopters sent to the area were fired on, so B-1 bombers, some Norwegian F-16s and a AC-130 gunship were called in, along with 300 infantry (mostly American Special Forces.) Over the next 24 hours, the B-1s dropped 19 one ton smart bombs, while the Norwegian F-16s dropped two 500 pound smart bombs. This was the first time the Norwegian air force has been in combat since 1940 (World War II). The US Army reported that 18 of the Taliban and al Qaeda troops were killed and some of the rest captured. The fighters, apparently organized by Islamic radical warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is trying to raise a resistance (to "occupying Americans") force. Hekmatyar is known to have attracted hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters to his cause, mainly in Pakistan. But in Afghanistan, despite several tribes with a lot of  pro-Taliban sentiment, getting Taliban and al Qaeda fighters to do more than sit around and talk about fighting, has been difficult. 

Iran says that, since the Taliban fell, 470,000 Afghan refugees have moved from camps in Iran back to Afghanistan. But 1.9 million Afghan refugees remain in Iran.

 

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