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White House Pleased With Developments in Afghanistan

The White House says President Bush is pleased with the latest developments in Afghanistan. But administration officials say their overall objectives still have not been met.

The President is monitoring events in Afghanistan from his Texas ranch. He is getting regular briefings, and meeting with top aides via video teleconference.

Spokesman Ari Fleischer says Mr. Bush is "very pleased" with the progress of the war in Afghanistan, and believes recent developments have been "very positive." But he adds the President will not rest until all his objectives are met.

Mr. Fleischer told reporters that at another time and in another war the fall of a capital city might have signaled the end of a conflict. He said this war is different, and it will not end until the terrorists who are now in hiding are brought to justice.

The White House spokesman was also asked about a military order signed by the President minutes before he left Washington on Tuesday. The order gives the U.S. government the ability to try people accused of terrorism in front of a special military commission, instead of in civilian court.

Mr. Fleischer defended the move. He said President Bush thought this would be the best way to try suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. He said this is a time of war, and those brought before those tribunals should be seen as "combatants".