American Forces Press Service

American Forces Detain 364 in Afghanistan

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2002 -- U.S. forces currently are detaining 364 prisoners who were caught in Afghanistan.

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs chairman, briefed Pentagon reporters today and detailed that 302 prisoners are being held at Kandahar, 38 in Bagram, 16 in Mazar-e Sharif and eight aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan.

Two of the prisoners were caught by American forces Jan. 7 near Gardiz Khost, Myers said. They were among 14 Al Qaeda fighters captured "without resistance" during interdiction operations in the area. The two were transferred to Kandahar.

"They were the ones of interest that we thought were senior enough where they might have the kind of information that we're looking for in terms of operational methodology, future operation, and so forth," Myers said of the two captives. He didn't identify them.

U.S. forces also confiscated several laptop computers and cell phones from the fighters and sent them to Kandahar with the two detainees. Myers said the devices are being "exploited" for intelligence information. He said he didn't know the disposition of the other 12 Al Qaeda fighters detained, but assumed they were turned over to Afghan authorities.

The chairman said he expected the first group of detainees to be transferred "soon" to the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but he wouldn't elaborate. He did, however, say the prisoners were a serious threat to U.S. forces holding them.

"Any time you have detainees who will sacrifice their life to kill you or what you stand for, that's the most dangerous type of individual you can have in your control," he said.

Myers said U.S. forces continue efforts to search for camps and cave complexes that might conceal remaining pockets of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, their equipment and their leaders.

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