The U.S. hasn't yet released its own damage assessment because of heavy clouds over the target area. Don't expect any dramatic reports: "Battle damage assessment is almost an oxymoron here," notes TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "This was a couple of tents and an obstacle course -- we probably improved the obstacle course." Still, destruction of the enemy's assets may not be the best measure of the mission's success: "Far more important here is the signal sent, telling terrorists that if they attack the U.S., they will be heavily targeted."
So what did those cruise missiles hit? Mostly the mountains around Khost, say the Afghans, claiming that 21 people died and 30 were injured. And what of the elusive terrorist chief, Osama Bin Laden? By all accounts, he got away unscathed. "When the U.S. began evacuating personnel from Pakistan and warning foreign aid workers to leave Afghanistan, Bin Laden's people knew something was brewing and made preparations," says TIME's New Delhi bureau chief Tim McGirk.