Skip to comments.Rumsfeld Outlines Battle That Crushed the Taliban [Horses /Mules]
Posted on 01/31/2002 3:21:29 PM PST by BunnySlippers
Rumsfeld Outlines Battle That Crushed the Taliban
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Many details of the fighting in Afghanistan aren't widely known, but U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday provided the most detailed account as yet of the battle for Mazar-e Sharif, which broke the back of the Taliban.
Rumsfeld said U.S. Special Forces soldiers landed in Afghanistan and their first challenge was simply to leran how to operate in their new environment.
"They began adapting to the circumstances on the ground. They sported beards and traditional scarves. They rode horses - to run - horses that had been trained to run into machine-gun fire, atop saddles that had been fashioned from wood and saddle bags that had been crafted from Afghan carpets. They used pack mules to transport equipment along some of the roughest terrain in the world, riding at night, in darkness, often near mine fields and along narrow mountain trails with drops so sheer that, as one soldier put it, it took him a week to ease the death-grip on his saddle," Rumsfeld said.
These forces then linked up with anti-Taliban troops and provided these troops with training. At the same time, the U.S. forces received training from the Afghan soldiers on the reality of fighting in Afghanistan. Together the U.S. Special Forces and the anti-Taliban commanders planned the attack on Mazar-e Sharif, Rumsfeld said.
"On the appointed day, one of their teams slipped in and hid well behind the lines, ready to call in airstrikes, and the bomb blasts would be the signal for others to charge. When the moment came, they signaled their targets to the coalition aircraft and looked at their watches. Two minutes and 15 seconds, 10 seconds - and then, out of nowhere, precision-guided bombs began to land on Taliban and al-Qaida positions," Rumsfeld said.
"The explosions were deafening, and the timing so precise that, as the soldiers described it, hundreds of Afghan horsemen literally came riding out of the smoke, coming down on the enemy in clouds of dust and flying shrapnel. A few carried RPGs (rocket-propelled guns). Some had as little as 10 rounds for their weapons. And they rode boldly - Americans, Afghans, towards the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. It was the first cavalry attack of the 21st century," Rumsfeld said.
The fall of Mazar-e Sharif opened up Northern Afghanistan to the Northern Alliance and gave the Northern Alliance access to the Uzbekistan border, and it set off a chain of events that culminated with the fall of Kabul a little more than a month after the first bombs fell.
Looking at the battle, Rumsfeld said a combination of factors led to success including the ingenuity of the U.S. Special Forces, the most advanced precision weapons the U.S. has, the coordination of U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine aircraft, and the determination of the Afghan fighters. "That day on the plains of Afghanistan, the 19th century met the 21st century, and they defeated a dangerous and determined adversary, a remarkable achievement," Rumsfeld said.
-By Alex Keto, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; Alex.Keto@dowjones.com
(END) DOW JONES NEWS 01-31-02
02:29 PM- - 02 29 PM EST 01-31-02
Women in burkas walk past the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Thank you. Imagine having to take your own camel to work every morning like this guy?
Mohammed Amin drives his camel around in circles to squeeze oil from cotton seeds in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan.
Rummy's speech to be rebroadcast on CSPAN at 8:00PM EST
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The faithful Steed had borne our race
In saddle, chaise, and pillion;
My father never saw his face,
But called him worth a million.
Just saw Condi Rice speak on C-SPAN at the CPAC conference!
Photoshop can make that happen:
Tis time we went in seeing how our power and might could assist our surrogates in gaining a victory. As you can see the combination of Horses and Star Wars bombs worked to perfection.
It also proved a very good lesson. Air superiority can not win a war. But Air superiority behind a poor quality ground force can achieve spectacular victory over a much superior ground force.
There is much anger in the world against us, but there is now the beginnings of major fear. The bad guys will never love us, but they are beginning to fear us. That is a wonderful achievement for our long term safety.
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