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Brent Sadler: U.S. mountain attacks 'intense'

Brent Sadler
Brent Sadler  

(CNN) -- CNN Correspondent Brent Sadler is near Tora Bora, Afghanistan, where U.S. and opposition forces are trying to root out al Qaeda and Taliban fighters thought to be holed up in caves in the mountainous eastern region of the country. Sadler took a moment to speak with CNN.

SADLER: It's the end of another day of intense air activity over the White Mountains where Tora Bora, the impregnable stronghold of Osama bin Laden, possibly himself, is located. From the beginning of this day, we saw intense allied coalition air activity led by U.S. warplanes, B-52s or B-1s coming in just after daybreak and blasting mountaintop positions where it sought al Qaeda fighters, who are still resisting strongly from the forested areas and caves along the mountain lines.

After the heavy bombers came in, we saw smaller ground strike aircraft doing their work, repeated bombing runs, wave after wave of aircraft coming in and hitting more positions across a wide area of the White Mountains. Now, this follows -- 24 hours ago, when al Qaeda was able to block with mortar rounds positions of the Eastern Alliance, anti-Taliban forces who were trying to move forward.

Now, the Eastern Alliance commanders on the ground here are claiming that they've lost three of their own fighters as a result of this recent, very heavy bombing against the White Mountains. But also, the Alliance is claiming that they, in battles Saturday, were able to kill eight al Qaeda fighters in a location in the mountains behind me.

Now, while the airstrike aircraft were going about their air sorties, we also saw quite a lot of intelligence gathering in the form of flying surveillance aircraft, U.S. aircraft, over this area, clearly doing two missions -- one, bomb damage assessment and secondly, taking a look at possibly other target areas for warplanes to do their work.

At the end of this day, it is now quiet. The alliance gun barrels have been silent this day because all the activity has been coming from the air, on the ground in those positions in the mountains behind me. Also, one other piece of news -- Pakistan has sent helicopter gun ships and troop reinforcements to the mountain border area behind me to ensure that there's no attempt by any al Qaeda terrorists to escape from Afghanistan across the border into Pakistan


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