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Strategy: Crack Force Set to Prise Bin Laden from his Lair
News Telegraph - UK ^ | 9/30/01

Posted on 09/29/2001 8:18:29 PM PDT by GVnana

Crack force set to prise bin Laden from his lair

By Macer Hall (Filed: 30/09/2001)

SPECIAL forces units are preparing to launch underground attacks on the network of tunnels and caves that conceal Osama bin Laden and his guerrilla fighters.

The SAS and American elite troops will attempt to penetrate the fortified subterranean hideouts to kill or capture terrorists under plans being drawn up by military strategists for a "warning shot" in the war against terror.

Commanders know, however, that such close-quarter combat under the mountains of southern Afghanistan could lead to heavy casualties.

Historically, Afghan fighters have used their detailed knowledge of the caves and hidden trails through the mountains to defeat invaders. Their ability to strike with surprise, then vanish, was the key to their success against the Soviet Army in the 1980s.

Bin Laden's forces have burrowed a complex web of tunnels and caves beneath the mountains. Each base is defended by gun emplacements and anti-aircraft missiles launchers. The networks have dozens of escape tunnels and are linked to observation posts on mountain sides.

An assault on one or more of the caves would need a substantial force of aircraft, artillery and airborne troops to support it. Air strikes with deep penetration weapons would begin the attack, to knock out defences and to blast holes into the caves.

The United States could launch Tomahawk Block III missiles, which are guided by the Global Positioning Satellite system and have 1,000lb warheads, from submarines or warships in the Gulf. For greater accuracy, GPS-guided GBU28 "bunker busting" bombs could be dropped by F15E Eagles, F16 Fighting Falcons or other attack aircraft.

Then a special forces team would be deployed by helicopter - CH-53 Sea Stallions are an option - to attack guerrillas flushed out by the bombing and infiltrate the tunnels. In addition to the SAS and US Delta Force, other elite units with mountain fighting capability may be involved in an attack, including the Americans' 75th Ranger Regiment and the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade.

Charles Heyman, the editor of Jane's World Armies, said: "It would be a very difficult operation, there is no doubt about that. Commanders will want a lot of troops and aircraft as well as artillery in support because many defences may still be in place after air strikes.

"The classic terrorist tactic is to desert these places and move away and not get themselves caught by properly organised military forces of any sort. But if there are people trying to defend them, you could have a really bloody battle on your hands."

Contingency plans for airlifting casualties out of the battle zone will also be necessary. American strategists are drawing on the experiences of the "tunnel rats" of the Vietnam War, the US soldiers who, armed with grenades, pistols and torches, fought in the hundreds of miles of tunnels dug by Communist guerillas.

While military technology has moved on, with thermal imaging equipment used to track enemies, the battle would come down to the same techniques of hand-to-hand fighting in claustrophobic conditions.

The terrorists' tunnels are believed to be able to conceal thousands of fighters for months. They include dormitories and other living quarters, communication centres and armouries stacked with Kalashnikov rifles, mortars, ammunition and explosives.

Some of the caves have lighting and electricity supplied by generators and makeshift systems of hot water pipes for heating. Al-Qaeda fighters live a sparse existence with just the Koran for comfort.

Bin Laden was known to be based in a cave in a mountain range above Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, the subterranean centre of his global terror network, until disappearing before the US hijack attacks.

His underground lair was reported to have a library of Islamic texts, an arms store and a communication room including computers, faxes and a satellite telephone.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
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What bloody and dangerous work this will be.
1 posted on 09/29/2001 8:18:29 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl
Would fuel-air explosives work well in a cave system?
2 posted on 09/29/2001 8:31:49 PM PDT by hc87
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To: GVgirl
What bloody and dangerous work this will be.

Yes it will...but I think we wll have a few surprises for them that will allow us to minimize our casualties.

3 posted on 09/29/2001 8:38:34 PM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: GVgirl
What bloody and dangerous work this will be.

Bloody on the Al Quaeda side, dangerous to be sure for all.

Thing is, the Afghans as well as the journalists have not the faintest idea what our elite troups can accomplish and how very well they are trained for ANY situation.

Many people ascribe others courage and bravery with there own limitations. Fact is that we have the best trained, best equipped elite soldiers in the world. Close combat in 'claustrophobic' conditions with those responcible for so many American deaths seems just what the doctor ordered.

Have no fear for our elite troops, for they have none.

4 posted on 09/29/2001 8:40:26 PM PDT by Mensius
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To: hc87
Ooohh. Sounds like you have a mind for this work!
5 posted on 09/29/2001 8:41:00 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl

Sunset over Afghanistan


6 posted on 09/29/2001 8:41:45 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: GVgirl
Every cave entrance discovered should be blown shut. Sooner or later...
7 posted on 09/29/2001 8:42:06 PM PDT by MistrX
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To: GVgirl
It sounds a bit like the maze of tunnels the Japanese built on Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima. I believe the U.S. forces made heavy use of flamethrowers. Not to "smoke 'em out" so much as to "burn 'em out".
8 posted on 09/29/2001 8:42:40 PM PDT by jpthomas
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To: Mensius
I can't help it. I do fear for them. They are always in my thoughts.
9 posted on 09/29/2001 8:43:30 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl
When I read the subject line, I thought we had sent a group of plumbers after Bin Laden...
10 posted on 09/29/2001 8:44:18 PM PDT by Tony in Hawaii
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To: hc87
We'll see.
11 posted on 09/29/2001 8:45:32 PM PDT by mathurine
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To: GVgirl
What bloody and dangerous work this will be.

Why not just Nuke him? The destruction would seem to be complete, if we got within a few miles of him.

12 posted on 09/29/2001 8:48:07 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat
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To: jpthomas
Not to "smoke 'em out" so much as to "burn 'em out".

Maybe with some American jet fuel.

13 posted on 09/29/2001 8:48:29 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl
Those tunnels are gonna be crumblin'...
14 posted on 09/29/2001 8:50:39 PM PDT by sargon
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To: GVgirl
These Bin Laden clowns have no idea just how totally fu(ked they are about to be...
15 posted on 09/29/2001 8:52:17 PM PDT by sargon
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To: hc87
"Would fuel-air explosives work well in a cave system? "

As I understand it, any underground facilities need to have an opening large enough for the air to suddenly rush out for fuel-air explosives to be effective (but I'm no expert). We've been aware of these caves for more than then years. (Hell, I've been aware of them for about 10 years) I'm only guessing, but there are probably counter measures prepared for sealing them in, probably involving seismic devises to map them and locate openings. If we can control the terrain for an extended period of time, we don't have to go in like the Vietnam tunnel rats.

16 posted on 09/29/2001 8:54:53 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: hc87
Would fuel-air explosives work well in a cave system?

I don't know, but I'm sure our forces will conduct some "experiments" to see...

17 posted on 09/29/2001 8:55:34 PM PDT by sargon
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To: elfman2
then =ten
18 posted on 09/29/2001 8:56:37 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: GVgirl

The GBU-28 Bunker Buster especially built for Saddam Hussein. Two were used in the Gulf War. I understand that a new version has been on 'rush' order. This is the 4,000 pound version.

19 posted on 09/29/2001 8:59:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
So you think the idea is to bomb the caves and kill whatever emrges?
20 posted on 09/29/2001 9:04:46 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl
I have some experience in tunnel construction. A few comments:

It is very difficult to "hide" a tunnel, because every cubic foot of rock excavated must be dumped outside somewhere on the ground. Freshly excavated rock looks quite different from normal ground and its very easy to detect on air photos or satellite photos.

The thing people in tunnels fear most is not cave-ins, it's fire. You are in an enclosed space. Dead-end tunnels need forced ventilation, otherwise the air will stagnate. If there is a fire in a dead-end tunnel you become trapped. If someone disables your ventilation and seals the entrances, you're trapped.

Tunnels with ventilation shafts or multiple adits can be even worse. If fire is introduced in one end, the air can be drawn by the fire which turns the tunnel into a blast furnace. This happened in the Caldecott Tunnel an California a while ago. A tank truck filled with gasoline was in an accident and caught fire. Everything upslope of the truck was incinerated. Bin Laden may feel safe from bombs in his little cave. He will not feel safe when fuel is pumped in his ventilation shafts and ignited.

21 posted on 09/29/2001 9:05:57 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: GVgirl

This is a GBU-28 mounted on an F-15 Eagle. Open a hole with one of these and then drop a fuel air bomb into the hole. Oh My!

22 posted on 09/29/2001 9:09:14 PM PDT by blam
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To: Tony in Hawaii
I thought we had sent a group of plumbers after Bin Laden...

LOL! Took me a minute, but I finally got it!

23 posted on 09/29/2001 9:10:17 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: blam
Japanese TV Fuji Television, with its military reporter, filed a story nearly three days ago detailing the arsenal that is going to be deployed, including GBU and other incredible assests and resources. They are in for sheer hell, based on seeing that file footage from Japanese TV the other day.
24 posted on 09/29/2001 9:17:33 PM PDT by AmericanInTokyo
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To: BigBobber
You know, it strikes me that the best thing we could do is wait and watch with infra-red equipment as the weather turns colder and colder. With each passing day, heat from whatever is below ground will find it's way to escape. As the special forces guys sit patiently watching, they will map every single vent to the surface and then we will have the information to employ all of the destructive weapons mentioned in previous posts.

Whaddayathink?
25 posted on 09/29/2001 9:18:09 PM PDT by 1John
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To: BigBobber
It would be justice.
26 posted on 09/29/2001 9:18:23 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: GVgirl
Why not put our B52s to work? If they are in mountains, or in a mountainous terrain we can bomb the hell out of the mountain, just above the front door of the cave.

Landslides result, then there is no escape.

27 posted on 09/29/2001 9:25:54 PM PDT by super175
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To: GVgirl
The problem with caves/tunnels in Vietnam (or so I've been told) was the jungle around them.

No such jungle in Afghanistan.

28 posted on 09/29/2001 9:27:23 PM PDT by super175
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To: blam
A large tunnel complex must need a large air supply. Even if their air sources are spread over a large area, we only need to find one vent for chemical weapons to be effective. If we just approch the task methodically, as if we were spraying for insects, it shouldn't be too long before those tunnels become a death trap.
29 posted on 09/29/2001 9:27:40 PM PDT by PUGACHEV
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To: AmericanInTokyo
"They are in for sheer hell, based on seeing that file footage from Japanese TV the other day."

If it can be seen, they'll definately believe that Allah has come, that's for sure. They are expecting to be fighting 'the other' super power like they did the Soviet Union.

30 posted on 09/29/2001 9:28:25 PM PDT by blam
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To: GVgirl
One thing about their underground fortress...they are in a fixed location and when entrances are sealed they are trapped. It would be cool if we had little ground terrain robots (like that bot war show) packed with explosives that could be sent into these caves by remote control or interactive software. Why do the dirty work when a robot can do it for you?
31 posted on 09/29/2001 9:29:40 PM PDT by WRhine
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To: BigBobber
What would a B52 load of Napalm bombs dropped on the front door of a cave in precision manner do?
32 posted on 09/29/2001 9:30:17 PM PDT by super175
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To: 1John
According to USAToday it is already getting down into the 40's in Kabul. In the mountains it will be much colder.

I wonder if we can locate body heat from space...

33 posted on 09/29/2001 9:36:25 PM PDT by super175
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To: PUGACHEV
"Even if their air sources are spread over a large area, we only need to find one vent for chemical weapons to be effective. If we just approch the task methodically, as if we were spraying for insects, it shouldn't be too long before those tunnels become a death trap."

They surely must have thought of that but, I don't know how they could counter it. The mines will be our biggest problem. No doubt, every vent is mined (...and maybe booby trapped) for miles around. I suppose an antipersonnel bomb could be used to explode the mines before entering the area.

34 posted on 09/29/2001 9:36:36 PM PDT by blam
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To: hc87
Just fill all the caves and tunnels with Amonium Nitrate and Fuel oil, wire it to a triggering device and and stand back.
35 posted on 09/29/2001 9:37:30 PM PDT by P-Marlowe
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: 1John
I was thinking something similar this morning--eventually they will need supplies and it must be easy for a spy plane to track body heat. But I wonder if Bin Laden is even in Afghanistan now---he's had several weeks to flee to other places where he could just disappear--Kashmir, Pakistan, Chechnyia. If he's out, we're probably in a position to hurt him badly by destroying infrastructure and a cadre of fighters, but much of his network will remain in place.
37 posted on 09/29/2001 9:39:41 PM PDT by hc87
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To: jpthomas
I wonder how many of these terrorist have ever been exposed to a flash bang grenade?
38 posted on 09/29/2001 9:41:15 PM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: GVgirl
Song Parody: "Hello Mullah, Hello Fatah (Camp Osama)"
39 posted on 09/29/2001 9:42:51 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson
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To: P-Marlowe
We have means to do this but we won't do it. Not politically correct you know. Harvard professors might write books criticizing President Bush .

Better we send in troops . They'll figure something out. Eventually. Just like last time. And the time before that.

40 posted on 09/29/2001 9:44:23 PM PDT by LarryLied
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To: 1John
This is a very good observation. The temperature of the ground is very constant, in the neighborhood of 55 to 60 deg F. Any forced or natural convection of warm air out of a tunnel is easily detected, especially when the abient surface air temperature is 32 deg or less--- like Afghanistan in winter.
41 posted on 09/29/2001 9:46:44 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: WRhine
Can they be programmed to wield a gurkha? (sp.)
42 posted on 09/29/2001 9:49:00 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: LarryLied
I've got an idea. Transcribe the comments on this thread into Arabic and carpet bomb all of Afgan with the leaflets.
43 posted on 09/29/2001 9:51:00 PM PDT by umgud
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To: P-Marlowe
Just fill all the caves and tunnels with Amonium Nitrate and Fuel oil, wire it to a triggering device and and stand back

Works for yellow-jackets. It'll prolly work on yellow-afghans.

44 posted on 09/29/2001 9:51:33 PM PDT by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: BigBobber
Bin Laden may feel safe from bombs in his little cave. He will not feel safe when fuel is pumped in his ventilation shafts and ignited.

This is a great thread with great ideas. I think we can rest assured that many of the ideas mentioned here are being worked on in great detail by our armed forces. When GW said he is going to smoke em out I believe he was sending a message to Bin Laden et al that they will be literally smoked out of their caves like so much vermin.

45 posted on 09/29/2001 9:53:06 PM PDT by WRhine
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To: PUGACHEV
I think you are right. I think the plan is to introduce fire or chemicals into the caves and then kill every man who comes running out. I hope they slaughter them by the truckloads.
46 posted on 09/29/2001 9:53:21 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: BigBobber
Actually, at a depth of 4 feet, the ground temperature the world around (including the Mojave, the Sahara, the Kalihari, even Antartica (if you could dig down through the ice pack) is 54 degrees. This is why "cool tubes" work so very well. But don't get me started on that subject...............
47 posted on 09/29/2001 9:54:43 PM PDT by 1John
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To: hc87
He is still there and we will get his murdering ass. We have the best weapons in the world, the best special forces fighting men and 280 million pissed people cheering them on!
48 posted on 09/29/2001 9:57:11 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: super175
I've heard on the news the B-52s are already stationed at Diego Garcia, the British island in the Indian Ocean. Waiting for the word.
49 posted on 09/29/2001 9:58:39 PM PDT by GVnana
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To: Recovering_Democrat
Well, we've got this no first strike thing, but then Rumsfeld has said we aren't ruling out anything. Hmm hmm hmm.
50 posted on 09/29/2001 10:01:02 PM PDT by GVnana
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