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Remote Sensing and GIS as Counterterrorism Tools in the Afghanistan War: A Case Study of the Zhawar Kili Region

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Rocks forming the backdrop of video footage of an admitted September 11 terrorist appeared to the author to belong to the Kurram Group of eastern Afghanistan. The cultural geography and military history of the area suggested that the terrorist was in or near the Zhawar Kili cave complex. Band-ratio satellite image mapping combined with public National Imagery and Mapping Agency and United Nations databases confirmed that Zhawar Kili is on Kurram Group rocks. This information was forwarded to the U.S. government in October 2001. Military and news media reports indicate the subsequent successful elimination of a large number of terrorists and munitions at Zhawar Kili in November 2001 and January, February, and April of 2002.
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Keywords: Afghanistan; GIS; Zhawar Kili; counterterrorism; environmental remote sensing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2003

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