- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2002

From combined dispatches
KABUL, Afghanistan The interim government said yesterday the country needs $45 billion over the next decade to rebuild the nation, which has been shattered by 23 years of warfare.
That warfare continued yesterday with U.S. forces bombing suspected terrorist sites and scouring the mountains of eastern Afghanistan for signs of Osama bin Laden and his terrorist followers.
In Kabul, Interim Planning Minister Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq told Reuters news agency that the country needed at least $15 billion for immediate reconstruction and would present its proposals at a conference of more than 50 countries in Tokyo on Jan. 21 and 22.
Even more will be needed for the country's long-term needs.
"For the next 10 years we estimate that we need $45 billion," Mr. Mohaqiq said. That is about $1,800 for each of Afghanistan's estimated 25 million people.
The U.S. commitment to help rebuild Afghanistan was underlined Friday with an announcement that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell plans to visit Kabul soon.
Mr. Powell, the most senior U.S. official to visit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban late last year, will hear Afghan leaders describe their needs for reconstruction and is expected to promise continued U.S. assistance.
In Washington, officials said searchers have found the bodies of five of the seven U.S.Marines killed last week in a plane crash in Pakistan and the bodies should arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today or tomorrow.
Investigators were at the crash site, looking for remains of the other two Marines and more clues into the cause of the crash, said Maj. Brad Lowell, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
About 100 Marines gathered for a memorial service for the seven soldiers in a bullet-pocked airport terminal near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar yesterday, their rocket launchers and M-16 assault rifles pointed at the floor as they sang "Amazing Grace."
The deaths will "strengthen our resolve to do everything we can to eradicate terrorism in the world," said Cmdr. Joseph Scordo, a chaplain with the Marine Corps.
Defense Department officials say they have no evidence that hostile fire brought down the plane.
More Army soldiers touched down at the Kandahar airport overnight, and officials said additional troops were expected in the days to come as part of a scheduled troop rotation.
Col. Frank Yiercinski of the 101st Airborne Division said at least 2,000 troops would be flown to Kandahar. While the approximately 3,000 Marines now holding the airport were primarily at the site to secure it, the U.S. Army would perform a "full spectrum" of operations during its open-ended stay, possibly including humanitarian assistance, he said.
In eastern Afghanistan, U.S. planes launched some of the fiercest raids yet around the city of Khost, the private Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said, quoting witnesses from the Pakistani border town of Miranshah.
"The bombing on Saturday morning was very heavy. People living around Zhawar have vacated their houses," AIP said.
In the town of Khost itself, a small group of U.S. special forces declined an interview request from the Associated Press that was conveyed to the Americans by a heavily armed Afghan guard one of dozens posted at the facility.
But Bacha Khan, the regional governor, said the strike force, consisting of about 20 men, had arrested four of his followers earlier in the day on suspicion of belonging either to al Qaeda or the Taliban.
He said the Americans were also looking for the killer of Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman, a Green Beret killed Jan. 4 during an ambush near Khost, a few miles from the Pakistani border. He was the first U.S. serviceman killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan.
In southern Afghanistan, U.S. Marines and Afghan forces continued a sweep in the border town of Spin Boldak for the second day, seizing unauthorized weapons and searching religious schools and mosques for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, witnesses said.
They said some persons were taken into custody for resisting the search.

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