U.S. officials do not believe the three victims included Osama bin Laden. But they are eager to establish the identities of the three, in part to counter claims that they were innocent Afghans.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it is gathering intelligence on pockets of hundreds of suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters regrouping near the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan.
Senior U.S. defense officials told reporters at a news briefing that no action had been taken yet, but left clear that it could be a focus of upcoming operations in Paktia Province in the mountainous area near Pakistan.
"We are seeing pockets of Al Qaeda and pockets of Taliban" around Paktia's capital of Gardez, said Air Force Lt. Gen. John Rosa, a senior operations officer on the U.S. military's Joint Staff.
"There are hundreds of folks....They're certainly not friendly," he told reporters.
Christopher Kelly, spokesman for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, said Thursday the institute received a small amount of "biological material" on Feb. 15, 11 days after the CIA attack. He said the institute hopes to complete a genetic profile within two weeks.
The material was collected by U.S. authorities in the Zawar Khili area in eastern Afghanistan at a remote site where a CIA-operated Predator drone aircraft launched a Hellfire missile at the trio U.S. officials believe were al Qaeda leaders.
Afghans in the Zawar Khili area later told reporters the three men were innocents who had been searching for scrap metal.
U.S. officials said Wednesday the government is seeking DNA samples from relatives of bin Laden. The samples would be used to compare with DNA from remains recovered in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials say they don't know whether bin Laden is dead or alive. They doubt he was among the three killed in the Feb. 4 CIA attack, although the government is eager to identify the three.
Rumsfeld has said repeatedly in recent days that he does not know bin Laden's fate.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told a Wichita broadcaster Thursday there has been some talk in intelligence circles that bin Laden was wounded.
"There's some indication he was wounded, but that's still very speculative," Roberts said after a closed meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Obviously, we're trying hard to tie that down."
Another official familiar with the intelligence committee discussion said the speculation stems from viewing videotapes of bin Laden. In a tape released publicly in late December, bin Laden appeared gaunt and did not use his left arm. He kept his hand hidden from view.
In other developments: