U.S. Escalates War in Afghanistan

November 23, 2003

Two weeks ago the U.S. military launched "Operation Mountain Resolve" in Afghanistan in Nuristan and Kunar provinces. The operation involves ground forces supported by helicopter gunships scouring steep, snow-covered mountains. There have been several battles, during which U.S. troops have killed or captured scores of Afghan fighters.

On November 13, a U.S. military base in the eastern border region of Paktia province was attacked with rockets.

On November 14, a U.S. special operations force soldier was killed near Asadabad, in eastern Afghanistan, when the vehicle he was driving was hit by a roadside bomb. A day earlier, another roadside bomb exploded outside a U.S. military base.

In the last three months, 11 U.S. soldiers or CIA operatives have been killed in attacks in Afghanistan.

In late October, a U.S. military attack in Nuristan province resulted in numerous civilian deaths and casualties. Maulavi Rabbani, a local religious leader said American planes and helicopters opened a three-hour attack on his home village of Arans in Nuristan on the night of Oct. 30. "Three planes came," he said. "First they bombed the mosque. My 18-year-old son was sleeping in the mosque and he was killed. When they started bombing, the people in the village started fleeing and my 21-year-old daughter was shot down by a plane as she was running in the street." A 75-year-old woman named Shar Maliki was trying to take three young cousins to shelter in a gully away from their house when they were all killed by gunfire from a plane or helicopter, Rabbani said. Shireen, 15, Ahmad Shah, 7, and Hamida, 5, were all found dead beside the gully, together with the old woman, he said.