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Bill Hemmer: Intense bombing, plans to move detainees

CNN's Bill Hemmer
CNN's Bill Hemmer  

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Intensified U.S. airstrikes have been reported outside the Pakistani border town of Miram Shah in an apparent attempt to flush out suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members trying to flee into Pakistan.

In addition, the U.S. military has detained suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members at a U.S. Marine base at Afghanistan's Kandahar International Airport. Plans are being developed to transport the detainees to a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

CNN Correspondent Bill Hemmer filed the following report:

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HEMMER: First, let's talk about the latest U.S. bombing -- arguably the most intense bombing we have seen in about a week. Specifically, the attacks are targeting eastern Afghanistan in the area known as Khowst right along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. We are told F-16 fighter jets ... were involved.

This bombing began at about 4 p.m. local time Sunday. It continues about 24 hours later.

The Pentagon has warned for some time now that they feared al Qaeda and Taliban fighters may try to regroup in parts of Afghanistan. Those groups may possibly be the targets of this mission.

Let's talk about Kandahar and the latest on the detainees. We are not allowed inside the facility where the detainees are kept. That's against the Geneva Convention. But we continue to pick up tidbits about what's happening inside.

We have reported for some time on a medical clinic with several doctors set up inside the facility. But what we did not know until now is that several amputations on injured detainees have been performed. The patients -- said to be al Qaeda -- were being treated for combat wounds suffered either in the Tora Bora region or in northern Afghanistan.

Also, about three days ago, brain surgery was carried out on one of the suspected al Qaeda detainees.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is facing a very difficult, very sensitive and top secret operation. How do you move 300 detainees half a world away to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?

Well, the plans are starting to take shape. The planners were thinking about transporting the detainees on a ship or a plane. The indications we have point to moving the detainees by plane all at once in a trip that might last a couple of days. It is top secret military information -- and if the government could have its way -- the trip would begin in secret in the middle of the night.




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