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U.S. Special-Forces Enters Afghanistan

Posted October. 17, 2001 09:25,   


The United States stepped into the second phase of the military campaign by inserting a Special Forces low-flying gunship for ground operations to Afghanistan on Oct. 15, which had been pounded only by air-strike so far.

Meanwhile, amidst the spreading of `fear of anthrax` around the world, it was confirmed that the third anthrax victim had appeared and a 7-month-old baby had been infected with anthrax in the United States.

▽ Dispatch of Special Forces == The New York Times reported on Oct. 16 that the Pentagon had admitted for the first time the dispatch of Special Forces as the Pentagon officials had confirmed that the AC-130 gunship, design to convoy the Special Forces had been inserted to the military operations in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon officials said that a U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130 gunship had been assigned to targets in or near the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

The AC-130 gunship is built with the airframe of the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, but is equipped with heavy machine guns and Balkan cannons, and is used in general to transport and convoy Special Forces and able to attack troops in motion or in concentration.

AFP reported on Oct. 16, citing Abdul Hanan Hematt, the chief of Taliban Public Information Bureau, that a low-flying airplane had been observed in the sky when the U.S. attacked Kandahar on the night of Oct. 15 and the morning of Oct. 16.

The Pentagon officials said, ``Improved intelligence is allowing the U.S. to hit the Taliban troops more accurately.`` They added, ``The dispatch of the AC-130 showed our growing confidence as the Taliban`s air defense system has become largely weekend.`` But the Pentagon did not confirm directly the dispatch of the Special Forces.

▽ The spread of fear of anthrax == Health officials in Florida said on Oct. 15 that Ernesto Blanco, 73 year-old employee at a tabloid newspaper company in Boca Raton, was being treated as he was found infected with anthrax.

Meanwhile, a government official said that the 7 month-old baby of an ABC female employee had tested positive for anthrax. This baby was believed to been exposed to anthrax when he was in ABC’s New York offices.

Thus, the number of anthrax victims increased to 3, including one death, and that of those who had been infected with or exposed to anthrax marked 14 so far in the United States.

Washington Post reported on Oct. 16 that The U.S. Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) was conducting an intensive investigation over two post offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Trenton, New Jersey, where spores of anthrax were found, suspecting them to an origin of the spread of anthrax.

It was confirmed that the letter delivered to the newspaper building had been sent from a post office in Boca Raton, and the letters to the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Dschle and to ABC building had been sent from a post office in Trenton.

Russian government announced on Oct. 15 that it was willing to offer anthrax-related technology to the United States, which had been prepared against bio-chemical war during the past cold-war era.

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com