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'Gaddafi forces' behaviour unchanged'

world Updated: Mar 26, 2011 12:41 IST
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Days after the US-led coalition forces vigorously pounded the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, there has been no change in the Libyan leader's forces as they continue to target and attack innocent civilians, a top Pentagon official has said.

"We don't want to go out and count tanks, the number of tank turrets that we see knocked off of tanks," Director of The Joint Staff Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said on Friday.

"What we want to see is the kinetic and non-kinetic fires that we are putting out, is it showing a change in the behaviour of the regime forces? And at this particular point, we're not seeing that change take place yet," he said.

In an operational briefing to Pentagon reporters, Gortney said the Gaddafi forces have suffered losses due to the coalition attacks.

"Their ability to command and control and effectively employ their air defence is almost nonexistent," he said.

"They still have tactical, mobile surface-to-air missiles, which still are a threat," he said.

"We have seen a degradation in their ability to command and control their forces as a result of the fires that we're putting out there, but we haven't seen it take a large enough effect that it's changing the total effect on the battlefield," the Pentagon commander said adding that Gaddafi forces still remain a serious ground threat.

"Gaddafi has virtually no air defence left to him and a diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground," he said.

His air force cannot fly, his warships are staying in port, his ammunition stores are being destroyed, communication towers are being toppled, and his command bunkers are being rendered useless," Gortney said.