• The Associated Press


Two Japanese destroyers and a supply vessel left Monday for the Indian Ocean, where they will assist the U.S.-led antiterror campaign in Afghanistan.

The three ships were to help with noncombat logistics and ferry supplies and fuel for coalition forces trying to restore order in Afghanistan and hunt down militant leaders, including al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, said Maritime Self-Defense Force spokesman Kazuro Yamada.

The ships — the 7,250-ton Kirishima and 4,650-ton Takanami destroyers and the 8,150-ton support vessel Hamana — are expected to reach the Indian Ocean in three weeks.

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