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Marines will not join Tora Bora search

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- U.S. Marines in Afghanistan will not be deployed to help search caves in the Tora Bora region, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The military will continue to use Special Forces to hunt caves rather than large numbers of Marines as previously contemplated, Pentagon officials in Washington said.

Earlier, U.S. military officials in Kandahar and Washington indicated the Marines were on alert, waiting for an order from Gen. Tommy Franks to deploy. One official said the movement of Marines, deployed farther inland than ever before in their history, was "imminent."

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Anti-Taliban Afghan fighters and a small contingent of U.S. Special Forces are searching the caves in the Tora Bora area.

On Wednesday, Marines stationed at the Kandahar airport completed the conversion of a second storage facility into a detention center, pending the arrival of more al Qaeda prisoners.

Seventeen al Qaeda fighters are being detained at the airport. The new facility creates space for several hundred more.

The arrival of one of those 17 prisoners at the airport detention center Saturday sparked a rebellion among wounded prisoners being treated at a Kandahar hospital.

Eight al Qaeda members remained holed up in the hospital for a fourth day Wednesday, vowing they will not be taken alive and would never surrender to U.S. forces.

CNN Correspondent Bill Hemmer contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 



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