3,420. 3/2/2002

“Operation Anaconda was supposed to have been a two-day operation using a reinforced brigade of 1,500 troops drawn from the Tenth Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne division. At the time the operation was being planned, [Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Major General Franklin] Hagenbeck’s staff thought there were only 150 to 200 al Qaeda fighters in the [Shah-i-Kot] valley. But once the operation began on March 2, 2002, the U.S. forces found themselves locked in a bitter battle with 2,000 entrenched and very determined al Qaeda fighters who would not retreat despite facing a superior force backed by airpower and heavy artillery. …When Operation Anaconda finally sputtered to its unhappy conclusion on March 18, eight American and three Afghan soldiers were dead and another eighty wounded. …American commanders claimed that the al Qaeda forces had suffered anywhere from eight hundred to one thousand dead, but no bodies could be found to support these dubious claims.”

 – Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, Pages 231-232

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