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Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd: New weapons for new war
Don Shepperd is a retired U.S. Air Force major general and a military analyst for CNN.
Don Shepperd is a retired U.S. Air Force major general and a military analyst for CNN.  

Update: It looks to me like we've taken care of the air defense system, although it's not totally destroyed. Now we're starting to go against the fielded forces and the underground targets. A lot of them are deeply buried. The big difference is we used to have laser-guided weapons, which were very accurate but required good weather. We now have a whole new family of weapons that can hit in any kind of weather and day or night. We've made some awesome steps forward.

Impact: The whole idea is to weaken the Taliban and to make them weaker relative to the Northern Alliance and other forces. It's not a question of if it's going to happen; it's just a case of when. A lot of those underground facilities were built with our help; the CIA provided intelligence and money, and we know a lot about those bunkers. But a lot of them are deeply buried. These are very difficult.

Strategy: The strategy is to set the conditions to allow the Taliban to be replaced and to go against the terrorists -- to weaken them so other factions can move in. We're setting the stage for the capability to put in larger number of ground forces. We'd love to do this with the Northern Alliance taking over, but we may not be able to.

Tactics: We're after fielded forces with the new weapons. We've got a weather window closing in on us, and that really does hamper us, especially if we're thinking of putting ground troops in. The weaponry at some point becomes a minor player when the diplomatic, legal and financial aspects become extremely important.


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

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


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