U.S. Warplanes continue to strafe bomb the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in what is being described by Washingtonas the biggest offensive yet in the war against Afghanistan.
Warplanes have dropped more than 450 bombs on the area since the assault began late Friday night and about 2,000US-led troops are inching up snow-covered mountains using mine detectors to clear their paths. The Pentagon claimedtoday that U.S. forces had entered at least one al Qaeda cave complex and found a cache of mortars, rocket-propelledgrenades and small arms.
Despite 8 confirmed American deaths and more than 40 injuries over the past few days, senior military commanders aretrying to put a positive spin on the operation. Air Force Brigadier General John Rosa characterized the operation bysaying: "I think the biggest single change is — not to be flip — that we killed a lot of people."
And despite claims by Washington to be hunting down left-over elements of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, entire familieslive inside of the current battleground in eastern Afghanistan, the latest ground zero. Some of them had soughtrefuge there during the more than 5 months of attacks by Washington. Yesterday, War Secretary Donald Rumsfeldappeared to be preparing the public here in the US for the deaths of these civilians trapped in eastern Afghanistan.He said they are there "of their own free will, knowing who they’re with and who they’re supporting and who they’reencouraging and who they’re assisting."
A couple of months ago, Democracy Now! interviewed Marc Herold, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. Asthe corporate media maintained almost total silence on the issue of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Marc Heroldscoured news wires and major newspapers from all over the world and concluded that US bombs have killed more than3500 civilians there.
- Marc Herold, Professor of Economics, International Relations, and Women’s Studies at the University of NewHampshire. He authored a report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan by U.S. bombs.