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March 07, 2002 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-07

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 7, 2002


Taliban, al-Qai

Ia orces routed NEWS m- BRIEF
i Prosecutors could have indicted Clinton

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan
(AP) - U.S.-led coalition troops have
gained the upper hand after killing at
least half the al-Qaida and Taliban
forces holed up in the mountains of
eastern Afghanistan in the biggest joint
offensive in the war, the U.S. com-
mander said yesterday.
Several hundred more American
troops were deployed in the rugged ter-
rain of Paktia province - bringing their
number to more than 1,000 - as were
fresh forces from their Afghan allies.
Working at altitudes sometimes about
10,000 feet, they engaged in continuous
firefights with al-Qaida fighters and
cleared several enemy caves.
"We've got confirmed kills in the
hundreds," Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck
told a press conference yesterday at
Bagram air base north of the capital
Kabul. "We truly have the momentum at
this point."
Still, the Pentagon admitted resist-
ance from the fighters holed up in the
hills of the Shah-e-Kot mountain range
was strong. Five Marine attack heli-
copters entered the fight Tuesday to
bolster the aerial strike force after
Army Apaches were damaged by
intense fighting.
U.S. officials have said the coalition
of troops.fighting in Operation Ana-
conda number about 2,000. Gen.
Tommy Franks, commander of the
five-month-old Afghan war, said 200
to 300 more American troops had been
deployed in the battle zone in the past
two days, in addition to 800 who were
already there.
But Franks told reporters at the Pen-
tagon that the new deployment was not
due to stiffer-than-expected resistance
and said there was "no surprise" at the
size of the al-Qaida forces.

"We expected that they would put up
a fierce fight and they have and they
are," Defense Secretary Donald Rums-
feld told reporters in Washington. He
said the fighters were "very hardened
elements of al-Qaida." But he said the
outcome was "reasonably assured": that
the fighters would surrender or be
When the operation began Friday, 150
to 200 enemy fighters were believed to
be hiding in the area, Hagenbeck said.
But by Wednesday, as many as 600 to
700 al-Qaida and some Taliban troops
had filtered into the territory, he said.
"Conservatively speaking right now,
I'm convinced from the evidence I've
seen that we've killed at least half of
those enemy forces," he said. "We own
the dominant terrain in the area."
In other developments:
Anti-aircraft missiles left by the
ousted Taliban militia exploded as t
peacekeepers were trying to defuse
them in the Afghan capital, Kabul,
killing three German soldiers and two
Danish soldiers.
Paktia province's intelligence unit
offered a $4,000 reward for the capture
of any al-Qaida warrior, passing
leaflets in Gardez and making
announcements from loudspeakers.
Afghanistan's main regional com-
manders gathered yesterday for meet-
ings with interim leader Hamid Karzai
and U.N. officials on security and form-
ing a national army. Cooperation among
them is considered important because
Karzai's interim government has little
power outside the capital. Regional war-
lords control much of the land and it
remains unclear if they will be willing to
cede influence to the central authority.
Allied Afghan commanders said
they were bringing in new units into

A final report by Independent Counsel Robert Ray concluded yesterday that
prosecutors had ample evidence for criminal charges against President Clinton in
the scandal involving former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
"President Clinton's offenses had a significant adverse impact on the communi-
ty, substantially affecting the public's view of the integrity of our legal system,"
stated the report.
"The independent counsel's judgment that sufficient evidence existed to
prosecute President Clinton was confirmed by President Clinton's admis-
sions," the report stated. "President Clinton admitted he 'knowingly gave
evasive and misleading answers"' about his sexual relationship with Ms.
It wasn't until Clinton's next-to-last day in office that he finally put the
investigation of allegations of perjury and obstruction in the Lewinsky matter
behind him.
The president's lawyers cut a deal with Ray that spared Clinton from criminal
charges in the Lewinsky controversy. The president admitted that he had made
false statements, under oath about his relationship with the former White House
intern and surrendered his law license for five years.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Violence kills 12 Palestinians, 2 Israelis
Israeli planes, helicopters and warships pounded Gaza yesterday in one of the
fiercest assaults of the Palestinian uprising. Twelve Palestinians and two Israeli
soldiers were killed in violence in Gaza and the West Bank.
Seven of the Palestinians died in fighting in Gaza. Five others died in sepa-
rate incidents, including a Hamas activist killed in an explosion at his Gaza
City home.
Late yesterday, an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at Yasser Arafat's headquar-
ters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, where the Palestinian leader has been
trapped for three months by Israeli forces. The missile exploded 50 feet from
Arafat's office as he was meeting with a European Union envoy. No one was hurt,
officials said.
Amid the worst spate of violence since the start of the conflict 17 months ago,
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised Israel would strike "without letup" until
Palestinian militants' attacks on Israelis are reined in.
"This is a really tough war we are in," the Israeli leader told troops and Israeli
officials at a military checkpoint south of Jerusalem.

Afghan fighters on a pickup truck drive through the streets of Gardez, the capital
of eastern Paktia province of Afghanistan yesterday.

the Shah-e-Kot battle for a final push
against the al-Qaida fugitives. "There
are 5,000 soldiers collecting in Shah-e-
Kot for a final offensive on the al-
Qaida to finish them off," said
Commander Ismail Khan, who brought
in extra soldiers from his base in Jaji,
northeast of Paktia's capital, Gardez.
U.S. officials returning from the
front yesterday predicted the offensive
would be wrapped up soon, thanks to
increased firepower and progressing
ground operations.
"I think really in a couple of days it
will be over," said Maj. Ignacio Perez
of the 101st Airborne Division.

Hostile fire Monday brought down
one Chinook helicopter and damaged
another, killing seven U.S. troops _ the
worst casualty toll in a single offensive
operation of the 5-month-old war.
Infantry forces inching up the sheer
mountain side had found a stash of
weapons and documents in one cave
hide-out and were clearing more.
Brig. Gen. John Rosa told reporters at
the Pentagon that the cave-side trove
included mortars, rocket-propelled
grenade rounds, small arms. Elsewhere,
U.S. troops found more weapons and
ammunition, as well as foreign driver's
licenses and foreign passports, he said.

Leave a Lasting

Tariffs alone won't
heal steel industry
Steelworkers and their employers
say the hefty tariffs President Bush
will impose on cheap steel imports
give the feeble industry some
breathing room but will stop short
of providing the protection needed
for recovery.
Bush's plan, announced Tuesday,
drew sharp criticism from U.S. trad-
ing partners and industries that rely
on low-cost foreign steel. They said
the tariffs will cost jobs and raise
prices for American shoppers for
such things as cars and appliances.
"There are thousands of small-
business owners across the country
who depend onĀ°steel, who'are won-,
dering what happened to the open-
trade, no-taxes-over-my-dead-body
president they thought they elected,"
said Jon Jenson, chairman of the
Consuming Industries Trade Action
Coalition, which campaigned
against the increase.
Condit loses bid for
re-election to House
Dogged by the the Chandra Levy
scandal, Rep. Gary Condit Tuesday lost
a re-election bid.
In the Democratic primary, Dennis
Cardoza led Condit 55 percent to 37
"Today the people of the Central Val-
ley stood up for their values, the values

that are central to our lives," Cardoza
said at a victory party in Modesto. He
will face Republican Dick Monteith in
Condit's re-election bid was shad-
owed by the scandal of the missing
Washington, D.C. intern. Condit, 53,
admitted he had an affair with 24-year-
old Levy, according to Washington
police sources. But they have said he is
not a suspect in her disappearance.
Condit campaigned in a reconfigured
district in which 40 percent of voters
had never seen his name on a ballot.
Saudi peace initiative
ins Arab support
Syrian support for a Saudi peace
overture toIsAel brings the A ab woild
closer than it has ever been to recogniz-
ing Israel's right to exist, but the
process is fraught with pitfalls.
The chance for a new peace intia-
tive comes just three weeks from now
when the Arab League convenes in
Beirut for its annual summit - and it
could vanish just as quickly if Israel
carries out its threat to prevent Pales-
tinian leader Yasser Arafat from
Syrian President Bashar Assad,
whose father and predecessor once led
the vanguard of hard-line opposition to
Israel, has reservations but "expressed
satisfaction" with the proposal aired
last month by Saudi Arabia's Crown
Prince Abdullah, Syria's state-run
media said yesterday.
- Compiledfrom Daily wire reports.


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