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U.S. Ground Forces Attack Near Kandahar

Aired October 19, 2001 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Eleven o'clock in the East. We want to get you up-to-date on the important developments tonight on the ground in Afghanistan. Here again, CNN's military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

Jamie, why don't you lay it out, what happened?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, tonight we saw the first ground combat in Afghanistan, as elite U.S. Army troops, Army Rangers, part of a special operations commando raid of more than 100 special operations troops in their helicopters, coming from both the USS Kitty Hawk carrier and bases in the region, attacking a target or targets near Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold.

These helicopters went in under the cover of darkness using the latest U.S. high-tech equipment, night-vision goggles, and attacked a target on the ground in a battle that lasted, we're told, several hours before all of the all helicopters managed to get out of Afghan airspace and head back to their bases.

What we still don't know is what the objective of the mission was. Was it to capture or to kill terrorist leaders? We don't know. Was is successful? Did it achieve an objective? The Pentagon is not saying, and we don't know specifically what kind of helicopters and what kind of equipment was used.

We do know that at least two American servicemen lost their lives in this operation -- not in Afghanistan, but in a helicopter crash in Pakistan. A search-and-rescue helicopter that was standing by to assist if the combat forces needed it, apparently crashed in an accident. Again, two people killed there. But helicopters unit, the branch of the service it's from and the names of the people dead have not released by the Pentagon, which is actually released very little information about this.

Now, we're told, perhaps tomorrow, the Pentagon will provide on the record some official details of what happened in this mission, but as for tonight, we're still left wondering exactly what it was all about.

BROWN: Jamie, thank you. It's been quite a night there for you. Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thank you very much.

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