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2/4/03 - COMBAT CONTINUES IN AFGHANISTAN - 2003-02-05


The oppressive Taleban regime no longer runs Afghanistan and that country is no longer a safe haven for al-Qaida terrorists. But the U.S.-led coalition is continuing its campaign of tracking down remaining Taleban and al-Qaida.

On January 27th, coalition forces, including elements of the Afghan national army, engaged an enemy force in a cave complex near Spin Boldak. And on January 29th, more than five-hundred coalition soldiers carried out operations in that same area near the Adi Ghar mountains. “In the course of those operations,” said U.S. General Richard Myers, the coalition “detained a number of individuals and recovered several small weapons caches, as well as bomb-making material and cell phones, as they searched some thirty caves.”

Most of Afghanistan is reasonably stable. The remaining al-Qaida and Taleban are concentrated in the eastern part of Afghanistan and just across the border in Pakistan. They will be found and either killed or brought to justice. But, said General Myers, even in that part of Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition has “teams out in the provinces to try to help move into stability operations and help the people in terms of roads and hospitals, and schools and wells.”

In the humanitarian area, the United States has announced funding to provide assistance to vulnerable Afghans in Kabul. The aid includes funding for non-governmental organizations to provide blankets, fuel, and stoves for use during the winter. This follows nearly two-million dollars disbursed to non-governmental organizations to provide emergency assistance. In the months before winter, the U-S provided twenty-three-million dollars to help ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are being met.

Last year, the U-S helped to reopen six-hundred Afghan schools, supplied seven-thousand metric tons of seeds to Afghan farmers, and provided around one-hundred million dollars to international and non-governmental organizations to assist the return and the reintegration of about two-million people. The U.S. also provided over seven-million dollars to help Afghans deal with the danger of landmines. This year, the U-S is working on a number of new programs, including repairing Afghan highways and building maternal health clinics. The U-S remains the single largest contributor to Afghanistan’s recovery.

As President George W. Bush said, “There’s still a lot of work to do in Afghanistan...[and] America affirms its full commitment to a future of progress and stability for the Afghan people.”

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