Sadler: Renewed attacks on al Qaeda positions
NEAR TORA BORA, Afghanistan (CNN) -- U.S. warplanes Thursday continued to pound al Qaeda positions in the Tora Bora region where Eastern Alliance military commanders believe Osama bin Laden might be hiding. CNN's Brent Sadler, based near the front lines, filed this report.
SADLER: It has turned bitterly cold here, but on the mountain the war is certainly heating up. This, after two days of uncertainty about the possibility of whether or not there might be some sort of surrender deal that would involve the release of most of the al Qaeda fighters, except Osama bin Laden himself -- presuming he's still here -- and his top leadership.
Now, that surrender deal has gone away, and ... the Eastern Alliance Afghan forces have launched new attacks in the last 24 hours against al Qaeda positions.
Take the clock back to the previous night, and you'll see there was a very heavy period of overnight bombing. Big "daisy cutters," those 15,000-pound bombs, [were] confirmed by the United States as having been dropped on the Tora Bora area.
There were massive explosions during the night, and then [Thursday] we've seen the continuation of those U.S. airstrikes, pounding very heavily against al Qaeda positions as Eastern Alliance forces have moved their fighters closer to the action.
Close-quarter fighting is reported again [Thursday]. Now, we also understand from reports among the Eastern Alliance leadership that [U.S. troops] are playing a key role on the ground here. And that, perhaps, explains why we've seen some very rapid advances, allegedly, by the Afghan warriors on the ground.
They say they've taken, within the past few hours, three more al Qaeda positions, almost driving the terrorists to the border with Pakistan, they say.
There's concern amongst the Afghan leadership here that somehow al Qaeda remnants or, indeed, the leadership itself, may be able to escape across the border into Pakistan.
One other piece of information: Arabic speakers amongst the media here have intercepted a radio chat coming from al Qaeda positions talking about waging jihad to the end.
Videotape shows bin Laden smiling, laughing about attacks
December 13, 2001
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