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Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd: Terrorist training camp, missile site destroyed
Don Shepperd is a retired major general of the U.S. Air Force and a military analyst for CNN. His briefings on the war against terror will appear daily on CNN.com
Don Shepperd is a retired U.S. Air Force major general and a military analyst for CNN.  


Update: The Pentagon released Tuesday afternoon for the first time satellite images of the damage caused by early U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan. The pictures show the destruction of a terrorist training camp and a surface-to-air-missile site, and damage to an airport.

Impact: The impact of the terrorist camp was you destroyed it. It's unusable. The impact of the SA-3 site was you destroyed it. It's unusable. The impact of the airfield attack is a very careful attack to deny the airplanes the ability to use it -- the MiG aircraft that are there. But it is easily repaired for when we go in there at the end and want to bring in humanitarian relief. If they (repair) it, we'll just hit it again. So it will be useless for them to do it.

Strategy: You're not out to destroy the Taliban, but you're out to weaken them such that the Northern Alliance, and as he says, the tribes in the south -- and notice that the (U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) is being very careful not to tie himself just to the Northern Alliance -- Afghans everywhere are going to have to be part of a coalition government afterwards. This is not a case where we are trying to support the Northern Alliance to take over the whole country. It's very clear that it's going to have to be a coalition. So we want everybody everywhere, including defecting Taliban, to rise up to get the Taliban leadership out of there so you can get al Qaeda out and then have a follow on country without the Taliban there.

Tactics: You rid yourself of the high-altitude surface-to-air missiles. Once you do that you can operate at high altitude during the day. And once the missile sites are down, all the radars are down then you can go against the fielded forces 24 hours a day. We could have gone in there in the first two or three hours and taken down all power all across Afghanistan and put it out for years. We of course did not do that. Same thing as why we are not hitting roads. We're not hitting bridges to keep refugees from getting out and that type of thing. The main thing is you go against the forces in the field and hope you will destroy them or cause them to retreat and let the Northern Alliance move from the north down south, hopefully taking Kabul back and perhaps Kandahar and perhaps Herat. If they did, they would own 50 percent of the country and the Taliban would be out of there. You may be able to cause decisive effects that cause the Taliban collapse by air attack alone. But clearly, you may even want to put forces in. You certainly want the threat of force going in at all times. And if necessary, you'll insert them. But if it's not necessary, I'm sure we won't. If you want to go in and really take over the whole country and root them out of every cave, you're going to have to insert ground forces. I'm sure that is not our strategy. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not going to be.


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U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), a former NATO supreme commander, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Grange (ret.) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd (ret.) are serving as CNN military analysts during the war against terror. Their briefings will appear daily on CNN.com.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN is sensitive to reporting any information that could endanger lives or operations.



 
 
 
 



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