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[] !!! WT 18.1.02: Gun camera,

Washington Times
January 18, 2002
Pg. 5

Inside The Ring

By Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough

Gun camera

The Pentagon is reticent about discussing how many pro-Taliban fighters it has killed since Oct. 7. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld refuses to give a figure for the number of enemy dead.

But military officers tell us that U.S. air strikes, and special-operations teams on the ground, have killed thousands in Afghanistan. A lot of it happened at night. If there is videotape of the killing, it's not likely to be shown at formal Pentagon press briefings.

We obtained one such documentary - gun-camera film from an Air Force AC-130U Spectre gunship as it patrolled exit routes the night of Dec. 7 as Kandahar fell to anti-Taliban forces.

As "Spooky" hovers, gunners spot a loose convoy of pro-Taliban soldiers (perhaps a mix of Taliban militia and al Qaeda fighters) trying to get away. At first, the gunship unloads volleys from a 40mm cannon. We counted 20 explosions all around the vehicle. But the gunner can't score a bull's-eye.

The fighters inside realize it's just a matter of time before the aircraft scores a direct hit. Suddenly, the vehicle stops, and from the back, nine of the enemy come running out.

"The initial shooting with the 40mm was not all that good.At least, they got the vehicle to stop," said a military source who viewed the video. "One of the guys looks like he is a definite candidate for the Taliban 2004 Olympic track team."

As the fighters run toward another vehicle a few hundred yards back up the trail, the Spectre switches to its 25mm Gatling gun (1,800 rounds per minute). This time the gunner doesn't miss. The moving bodies disappear in a cloud of dust.

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