Amanda Kibel: bin Laden's hideout
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) – While the search for Osama bin Laden continued in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, reporters near the southern city of Kandahar were given a tour of a camp that was reportedly occupied by bin Laden and his al Qaeda fighters.
CNN's Amanda Kibel says the area is stockpiled with thousands of weapons. She filed this report.
KIBEL: The area that we were taken to today is about ten kilometers north of Kandahar. What we saw there was basically a series of caves in the mountains in this area. The caves that we saw were stockpiled with hundreds and thousands of weapons and munitions of different kinds and calibers. These weapons and munitions, we were told, had been left behind by al Qaeda fighters as they fled Kandahar when the U.S. bombing here began.
The Afghan government right now has begun to clear these caves, taking the weapons and munitions to a depot in Kandahar. The weapons will then be used in the new Afghan army.
The area we saw today was an al Qaeda stronghold, an area that Osama bin Laden lived in for many months and years. We were told he lived there at certain periods when he felt threatened; it was something of a hideout for him.
We were also told that it was from this hideout that bin Laden left Kandahar when the U.S. bombing began.
CNN: How much ammunition was there? Give us a better perspective on what this represents.
KIBEL: There were literally thousands of munitions of different calibers, and I would say thousands of weapons of different sorts. We saw cave after cave after cave, piled high to the ceiling, and we were told that the entire mountain area, which stretches for kilometers, was piled with munitions and weapons.
In Osama bin Laden's two-room house, we saw probably about a thousand weapons and munitions. The commanders we were with told us that it seemed to indicate that bin Laden and his fighters were stockpiling for a fight; they were ready for some kind of battle. The way that the munitions had been stockpiled, it seemed that they were going to fight some kind of retreating battle.
So, there's plenty of munitions and plenty of weapons – and it looks like, according to the commanders here, that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were ready to fight till the end.
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