WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taliban and al-Qaida war prisoners, hooded and chained, are being assembled by U.S. forces at Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan for movement to a detention facility in Cuba.
Preparing for a trans-Atlantic operation presented an unprecedented security challenge, officials said Thursday. Prisoners were shuttled from locations throughout Afghanistan to the Marines' main jail at the airport. Others were moved from the Navy's USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea.
Prisoners would also be chained to their seats -- and possibly be sedated, forced to use portable urinals and be fed by their guards -- during the flights from Afghanistan to newly constructed jail cells in Guantanamo, Cuba, according to newspaper and television reports.
Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes struck again early Thursday Afghan time at the huge cave, tunnel and building complex used as an al-Qaida training camp in eastern Afghanistan.
American-led forces for several days have been detonating ordnance found there and hitting the compound itself, saying intelligence indicated it was recently occupied by al-Qaida fighters preparing to escape the country into Pakistan.
The regrouping of prisoners overnight Wednesday Washington time brought the number in Kandahar to 351, said Lt. Col. Martin Compton at the U.S. Central Command's war command center in Tampa, Fla. A total of 371 are in U.S. custody.
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