The Americans "want to kill them"
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Dec 13 06:51:46 MST 2001
Afghans Say U.S. Scuttled Surrender
Commanders Cite Pressure To Keep Attacking Al Qaeda
By Susan B. Glasser
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 13, 2001; Page A01
TORA BORA, Afghanistan, Dec. 12 -- U.S. military operatives stepped in
today to oppose a surrender deal offered by Osama bin Laden's fighters,
pressuring Afghan leaders to instead renew their attack on the cornered
holdouts, Afghan commanders said.
As the talks on strategy continued, U.S. warplanes stepped up their attacks
on remaining positions of bin Laden's al Qaeda network high in the White
Mountains, dropping bombs that caused the ground to rumble as if an
earthquake had hit. U.S. AC-130 gunships raked the mountains with cannon
fire overnight on Tuesday.
With an 8 a.m. Wednesday deadline for surrender of the al Qaeda fighters
having come and gone, their Afghan foes set a new deadline of Thursday
As many as 40 U.S. Special Forces troops and 60 members of Britain's elite
Special Air Service are on the ground in the rugged area, helping in the
hunt for bin Laden and any of his lieutenants who remain.
Afghan commanders said the Americans, in pressing their Afghan allies for a
new attack, had promised that U.S. and British special forces would take a
broader role in the battle. But in Washington, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that U.S. troops would continue
to focus on supporting opposition commanders and calling in airstrikes, not
directly attacking al Qaeda fighters or searching caves.
Pentagon officials disputed claims that Americans operating in the field
had scuttled surrender arrangements. "We've never seen any serious talks to
begin with," a senior official said.
Today's airstrikes came during an ostensible cease-fire negotiated between
a top Afghan commander, Mohammed Zaman Ghun Shareef, and bin Laden's forces
after two days of intense fighting pushed the bin Laden troops high into
the mountains. They abandoned many of their heavily fortified caves and
bunkers lower in the mountain range's Tora Bora area and neighboring Milawa
The cease-fire had been set to culminate in their surrender at 8 a.m. local
time today. Instead, the deadline passed with no surrender.
Several Afghan leaders said today that Americans in the area had adamantly
resisted terms of the deal, which would have allowed bin Laden's mainly
Arab and other foreign fighters to hand themselves over to the United
Nations and diplomatic representatives of their own countries.
"The Americans won't accept their surrender," Hazrat Ali, regional security
chief for eastern Afghanistan, said after emerging from hours of
negotiations with U.S. officials. "They want to kill them."
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