WASHINGTON -- U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have killed scores of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters, although precise numbers are impossible to confirm, the Pentagon says.
The terrorist network and its Taliban allies still have between 40,000 and 50,000 troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Wednesday in a television interview.
Twice a day, he said, reports cross his desk detailing Taliban battlefield dead, from a half-dozen to 20 at a time.
For the first time in the monthlong bombing campaign, Pentagon officials released a video Wednesday that depicted a human victim of the bombing. The fuzzy images from a plane's gun camera showed a figure emerge from a vehicle shortly before being obliterated by an American bomb.
In introducing the video clip showing the destructive power of the U.S. weapon, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace said it offered a "rather unique" view of the bombing campaign.
"You'll see two vehicles, one pull up next to another. You'll see an individual walk between the two vehicles just before a guided munition destroys both vehicles," said Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
On the other side, Pace said, some anti-Taliban fighters are so dedicated they have charged on horseback against Taliban tanks. American special forces troops are helping some of the rebel groups with supplies, ammunition and tactical advice.
"These folks are aggressive. They're taking the war to their enemy and ours," Pace said.
So far, the al-Qaida casualties have not included the network's leader, Osama bin Laden, Rumsfeld said.
"We'll find him," Rumsfeld said. "On the other hand, he could show up today, dead, and I'd be delighted. But al-Qaida would still exist."
Rumsfeld claimed Taliban forces are violating international law by putting troops and military equipment in schools, mosques, hospitals and other civilian sites to try to draw U.S. bombs to kill civilians.
"These people couldn't care less about international law," Rumsfeld said on PBS' "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." "They killed 5,000 people in the United States without batting an eye, and if they had weapons of mass destruction, they'd have killed hundreds of thousands."
In other developments:
--A search continued early Thursday for a sailor who fell overboard from the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea about 24 hours earlier.
--British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined President Bush at the White House on Wednesday in expressing determination to achieve the objectives of shutting down the al-Qaida terror network, ousting the Taliban and replace it with a new regime. "I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will achieve them in full, and we will not let up until we do," Blair said. Bush again cautioned patience, saying the anti-terror fight "is not one of these Kodak moments" but was steadily making progress.
Pace said U.S. special forces working with opposition forces in northern Afghanistan are reporting progress against the Taliban near the crucial northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. But he could not confirm the claim by the northern alliance that its forces have taken new territory.
"We know that the opposition is making gains," he said. He defined that as the opposition mounting aggressive attacks, with U.S. assistance.
Victoria Clarke, Rumsfeld's chief spokeswoman, described the situation as fluid around the Mazar-e-Sharif.
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