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Tim Lister: Al Qaeda dug in

Tim Lister reports from Tora Bora, Afghanistan.
Tim Lister reports from Tora Bora, Afghanistan.  


(CNN) -- Troops with the Eastern Alliance -- the anti-Taliban faction around Jalalabad, Afghanistan -- reported heavy fighting with al Qaeda forces in the mountains around Tora Bora, where Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

CNN's Tim Lister is near Tora Bora, and he filed this report.

LISTER: Within the last half an hour, an F-16 has flown over this area and dropped two bombs on a ridge that's being defended by the al Qaeda group. We're not sure whether it's a couple of hundred, maybe as many as 1,000 al Qaeda fighters on a hill ridge that stretches about 10 miles.

And right now, there's an EC-3 surveillance plane overhead, which suggests there are more attacks to come. This happens as the anti-Taliban forces -- the Eastern Alliance as they're known here -- are having a pretty tough time making any headway against those al Qaeda fighters.

We have a report from further up the front line that three of their fighters have been killed. Their bodies have been left for collection tomorrow and the alliance is falling back some way. So, the al Qaeda fighters are putting up very stiff resistance in the hills of the White Mountains immediately behind.

CNN: We understand the opposition has been able to take some of the caves in that area. Can you tell me what they found in those caves?

LISTER: They have been able to take one or two caves here in the lower foothills and they've found them well-prepared, well-fortified, some of them well-provisioned. It seems that the al Qaeda fighters who came up here from Jalalabad, which is only a two-hour drive down some very rocky tracks, were ready to make quite a last stand here, and they were preparing these caves. They're going to very hard to dislodge from their position.



 
 
 
 


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