Reuters on Friday, March 28, 2003
BAGRAM, Afghanistan – U.S. troops in Afghanistan have launched a second major operation with an air assault on mountains in northeastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military officials said on Friday.
“Operation Desert Lion” comes as hundreds of U.S. soldiers comb mountain caves and villages in the former Taliban stronghold of southern Kandahar in “Operation Valiant Strike,” launched almost simultaneously with the Iraq war.
Soldiers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Battalion began Desert Lion on Thursday and uncovered two weapons caches that included rockets and mortars, a military spokesman told reporters, adding no arrests had been made.
Thousands of U.S. and allied troops are searching Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden and members of his al Qaeda network, prime suspects in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, as well as leaders of the Taliban regime that sheltered them.
Valiant Strike has resulted in the arrest of several people and the discovery of large amounts of weapons and ammunition.