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Operation Anaconda and the dangers ahead.

Date Written    :  Mar 05, 2002

Operation Anaconda and the dangers ahead

Nine U.S. troops were killed and dozens wounded on Mar 4, 2002 in the deadliest battle for Americans in the Afghan conflict when two army helicopters were hit by enemy fire during a major offensive against Al-Qaida and Taliban forces in the icy mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

The American deaths occurred during two separate incidents involving MH-47 Chinook helicopters. In the first, the aircraft was getting ready to land. A rocket-propelled grenade hit the chopper but did not explode. The pilot lost control for a time, but recovered and landed. One serviceman died in that incident. In the second incident, an MH-47 drew small arms fire and made a hard landing in enemy territory. A firefight ensued as other U.S. troops arrived to rescue the crew. A total of eight died in that incident. Officials said it's unclear whether the U.S. deaths occurred in the initial attack or the firefight.

The death toll represented the largest U.S. loss from a single battle in Afghanistan, where the fighting began on  Oct. 7, 2001. There have been several so-called accidental crashes of other crafts, including one in which seven Marines were killed when a refueling plane crashed in Pakistan.

Operation Anaconda and the dangers ahead

The U.S. assault was code-named "Operation Anaconda"  and led by Maj. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, commanding general of the Army's 10th Mountain Division.  It is called "Operation Anaconda" after the snake which squeezes its prey until it can no longer breathe. In the process of stopping the breathe of the enemies, the flying snakes -- Chinooks should not become the prey. 

The attack, supported by hundreds of bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes, had been planned for weeks but it seems that they had underestimated Al-Qaida resistance to it. The American deaths underscored not only the dangers in pursuing President Bush's declared goal of hunting down Al-Qaida terrorists and smoking-out Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and others; but also the difficulty of assaulting what Pentagon officials say are well-armed and well-organized pockets of Al-Qaida resistance in eastern Afghanistan. US troops should be extra-alert in fighting the Al-Qaida terrorists, since they are supported by the ISI from across the porous borders with Pakistan. It is to be noted that the Pakthia province is near to Pakistan borders and even the Pakistani civilians are in support of the Afghans.

US needs to be extra cautious at each and every step they take, from using Airbases in Pakistan to landing special troops carrying  out operations in Afghanistan.  Pakistani ISI and MI  might be passing down crucial information to the Taliban about the special operations inside Afghanistan.  The US needs to realise  the enemy and the supporters of these enemies; because US-led forces are taking support of the friends of enemies to finish-off the enemies.

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