Recent claims by Taleban of 50 US troops killed omit to mention reports of 1,000 Taleban captured or than Bin Laden is trapped, with every movement observed.
The Taleban have declared that two US helicopters have crashed, causing the death of up to 50 US Special Forces. The Pentagon meanwhile admits that a Predator drone crashed in bad weather and that two helicopter pilots died when their aircraft crashed, after being hit by anti-aircraft weaponry.
The Taleban Development Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, claimed that the helicopters crashed in the district of Nawur, Ghazni province, in Eastern Afghanistan on November 3rd. “The remains of 40 to 50 American soldiers are lying around”, he claimed, promising that a video will be released. He stated that the first helicopter crashed due to bad weather and the second, which was sent in on a rescue mission, was shot down by the Taleban.
The Consul-general of the Taleban in Karachi, Rahmattolah Karkezad, goes further, with claims that 5 US helicopters have been shot down and that “between 70 and 100 US soldiers have been killed inside Afghanistan since the beginning of the conflict”.
There is no confirmation of this alleged incident by independent sources. Meanwhile, Northern Alliance sources have claimed that 1,000 Taleban have been captured around the strategic northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The US TV station ABC quotes Defence Department sources which claim that the US/UK alliance knows where Osama Bin Laden is hiding and that he is being watched 24 hours per day, without any chance to escape. The sources claim that he is surrounded by US soldiers and is restricted to a localised complex of tunnels and caves.
President Bush will give the order to bomb or to capture Bin Laden, dead or alive. The notion that Bin Laden will allow himself to be captured alive is open to question, which means that an attempt to perform the latter will put the troops attempting this task at great risk. However, any claim to have killed Bin Laden in a bunker-busting bombing operation will be suspect until a body is produced. Even then, there will be claims that a double has been used.
All information from the Taleban which is not confirmed by accredited independent sources can be considered as pure propaganda, since this regime has systematically lied since the beginning of the conflict.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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