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Uranium Reportedly Found in Afghan Tunnel Complex

Paraphrased by Steve Waldrop

Kandahar, Afghanistan- USA Today reporter Vivienne Walt has written that Bottles and drums of what may be radioactive liquids were found here in a large underground tunnel complex at what was once a military base controlled by Osama bin laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, a local tribal commander said Sunday.

The article on terrorism, written by Ms. Walt goes on to say that; In Washington, one U.S. official said some depleted uranium was found in Afghanistan recently, but that the material did not appear to be dangerous and that it isn't clear whether Sunday's claim involves the same discovery. Other high-ranking U.S. officials said Sunday that they knew of no discoveries of any radioactive materials anywhere in Afghanistan.

Even so, the local commander's claim, which a U.S. official on the scene did not deny, renewed concerns that bin Laden may have been trying to make a "dirty" bomb that spreads radiation after being exploded.

Haji Gullalai, interim intelligence chief for kandahar province, says his troops uncovered the tunnels December 5, discovered suspicious substances- stored in jars and bottles and placed in sealed boxes- and then alerted U.S. forces. The tunnels are at the edge of an air base controlled by U.S. forces, reports Ms. Walt.

The U.S. troops, "told me,'Remove your people from this place because this is very dangerous, it is uranium,'" Gullalai said. He said "engineers" arrived to test the contents wearing protective masks and gowns, and "foreign experts told me directly it was uranium."

Marine Corps Capt. David Romley said Sunday in Kandahar that he "cannot deny" that uranium had been found at the airport, where he is stationed as a public information officer. "We are aware that there are CBR (chemical-biological-radioactive)-type environments in the region," he said.