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Rumsfeld Cites 'Measurable Progress' in Afghanistan - 2001-11-04

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says "measurable progress" is being made against terrorist and military-related targets in Afghanistan, after a month of air strikes. And the Arab League has dismissed the latest statement from terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden.

Secretary Rumsfeld is in Islamabad for talks with Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf before traveling to New Delhi. It's the final stop on his five-country tour of front-line states supporting the U.S.-led military campaign.

Speaking earlier in Tashkent, Mr. Rumsfeld says as far as the United States is concerned the military effort is on track. "The effort to deal with the problem of terrorist networks is proceeding. It is, we believe, proceeding at a pace that is showing measurable progress," said the defense secretary.

U.S. jets pounded Taleban front lines on the outskirts of the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Taleban authorities say they pushed back a Northern Alliance offensive 70-kilometers south of the city. A senior Northern Alliance official says 700 Taleban fighters have defected in northern Afghanistan. Neither report has been independently confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa has dismissed the latest statement from terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden. On Saturday, the Saudi fugitive called for Muslims to wage holy war against other Muslims who support the international coalition that is attacking terrorist and military targets in Afghanistan.

Speaking in Damascus, the Arab League Secretary General said the Saudi fugitive does not speak for Muslims and is himself facing a war with the rest of the world.