WASHINGTON (AP) -- Danger to U.S. troops in Afghanistan is increasing as the Taliban militia and al-Qaida disintegrate, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warns.
"Let there be no doubt, there will be further casualties in this campaign, in Afghanistan and elsewhere," Rumsfeld said Friday, the 55th day of the U.S. aerial assault that has punished but not finished off the Taliban.
The only substantial portion of Afghanistan still under Taliban control is around Kandahar, the southern city that gave birth to the radical movement of Islamic students. Appearing with Rumsfeld at a joint news conference Friday, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace said the military situation in the Kandahar area remains unclear.
"We do not know what we cannot see, which is how many actual fighters there are inside the city," Pace said. "There has not yet been a major ground offensive battle. There are, we know, negotiations going on between the opposition forces and the Taliban leadership for surrender."
There are still pockets of resistance elsewhere in Afghanistan, and Rumsfeld said thousands of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are being held prisoner by the northern alliance and other opposition forces.
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